Solar Plant in South Africa ( Solar Thermal Magazine) Oslo – Cape Town.
In July 2014, Scatec Solar, the integrated independent solar power producer, started commercial operations of a 40 MW solar PV plant in South Africa increasing its installed capacity in the country to 115 MW.
Known as the the Linde project, located in the Northern Cape region, is the second utility scale solar PV plant Scatec Solar completes under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program and the first of its two projects awarded in the second round. The Linde plant will produce in excess of 90 million kWh annually; enough cover the electricity needs of around 20,000 households.
I am very pleased with my team and partners who have been able to realize this complex project on time and on budget. We have built on the experience gained from our Kalkbult project, and have broadened this with our first installation of a solar tracker system which will increase the output from the plant considerably. Scatec Solar has for more than four years been actively developing project opportunities in South Africa, and we look forward to realize more projects for the benefit of the regions and the local communities in which we operate.
Contrary to most South African solar plants which make use of a fixed tilt system in which solar panels are mounted at a fixed inclination, the Linde project has been installed with a single axis solar tracker system. This tracking method improves the plant’s production volumes by approximately 20 % caused by the azimuth, the daily course of the sun from east to west, allowing a more efficient use of the modules
As was the case with Scatec Solar’s first South African project, the 75 MW Kalkbult plant, the Linde project has been developed by Scatec Solar through its South African joint-venture company Scatec Solar SA. The plant is located at Linde near Hanoverin the Northern Cape, a sun drenched region that boasts some of the best conditions for solar power anywhere in the world. The annual production will be approx. 94 million kWh per year, enough to cover the electricity demand of about 20 000 South African households. The power will be fed into the local grid and sold through a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with the national utility company, Eskom. Harvesting solar power through this plant represents CO2 abatements of almost 80 000 tons per year.
The capital investment for the project was in the range of ZAR 1,100 million and is financed through South Africa’s largest commercial bank, Standard Bank. The consortium providing the equity finance consists of Scatec Solar as the largest majority owner, Standard Bank, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company, Norfund and Simacel.
The local value creation of the project is substantial. The construction of the plant has provided significant local job opportunities in addition to utilizing local content to stimulate the nascent South African renewable industry. At Linde, Scatec Solar and sub-contractors have recruited and trained more than 350 employees at different levels ranging from technical skills to finance and project management. In peak periods, more than 340 employees – the majority from the local community – were working at the construction site.
A portion of the revenue from the plant as well as the project dividends will be earmarked Socio Economic Development initiatives in the area around the project site. The primary focus will be on skills development, educational and health initiatives.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.