Scatec Solar Grid Connects First Renewable IPP project in South Africa

Solar Grid .

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Scatec Solar, the global solar energy provider, had its 75 MW solar PV plant, Kalkbult, in the Northern Cape region connected to the regional grid Friday, three months ahead of schedule, making the power plant the first REIPPPP project to be grid connected and operational in South Africa.

Solar Grid South Africa.

Scatec solar

Scatec Solar was awarded the Kalkbult project under the first round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Immediately after the financial close was reached in November last year, the company commenced construction of the plant which consists of more than 312 000 solar panels mounted on 156 km of substructure, inverters, transformers and a HV sub-station. During peak periods, more than 600 employees – the majority from the local community – were working at the construction site, achieving more than 750 000 accident free hours. The power from the now grid-connected PV plant will be sold through a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement with Eskom, the national utility company.

– I am very proud of our staff and contractors who have been able to complete this substantial project three months ahead of schedule, demonstrating how swiftly utility-scale solar energy plants could be built and put in operation, Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar said. – South African authorities are committed to implementing an ambitious renewable energy program, and we find great satisfaction in being able to contribute to its success through our own projects which we have actively been developing in South Africa over the last four years. This country boasts some of the best conditions for solar power in the world and the annual output of 135 million kWh produced at the Kalkbult plant will benefit both the region and the local community in which we operate, Mr. Carlsen said.

The Kalkbult plant is located in the sun drenched Northern Cape region with ideal conditions for solar power. Combined annual production will be in excess of 135 million kWh per year, enough to cover the electricity demand of 33 000 South African households. Harvesting solar power from this plant represents CO2 abatements of almost 115 000 tons per year.

The capital investment for the project is financed through South Africa’s largest commercial bank, Standard Bank. The consortium providing the equity finance consists of Scatec Solar as the largest owner, Norfund, Simacel, Stanlib/Standard Bank, and Old Mutual Life Assurance Company.

The local value creation of the project has been substantial. The construction of the plant provided significant local job opportunities in addition to utilizing local content to stimulate the nascent South African renewable industry. In total, Scatec Solar and sub-contractors recruited and trained more than 500 employees, mainly from the local community, at different levels ranging from technical skills to finance and project management. 16 % of the employees were women who participated at all levels from management and administration to construction activities.

A certain part of the revenue from the park as well as a certain portion of the dividends in the years to come has been earmarked Socio Economic Development initiatives in the area around the project site.

Scatec Solar has been awarded a total of three projects under the REIPPP with total capacity of 190 MW. Construction of the next two projects located near Hannover in the Northern Cape and near Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape, has started and completion is expected by mid-next year.

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