South Africa celebrates opening of another solar plus storage plant

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ENGIE announced early February the completion and commercial operation of one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects, the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park.

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French electric utility ENGIE has completed and begun production from one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects, the 100MW Kathu Solar Park, a concentrated solar plant (CSP) with storage located in the Northern Cape province.

The Kathu Solar Park consists of parabolic trough technology and is equipped with a molten salt storage system that provides up to 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage. The site is made up of over 384,000 mirrors and is the first CSP project developed by ENGIE.

It was built by Sener and Acciona and won a 20-year power purchase agreement underSouth Africa’s stop-start Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP).

“The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to an economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa,” said Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE.

“Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies. We are proud to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”

The Kathu Solar Park is expected to provide clean electricity for the equivalent of 179,000 South African homes – specifically in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape province, and South Africa as a whole.

Further, it is expected that the Park will save around six million tonnes of CO2 over 20 years and will further foster local economic development through several ground-level projects, including a trust for the benefit of communities situated in the Northern Cape, as well as sourcing services from local entrepreneurs.

The project is owned a consortium of entities including ENGIE, which has a 48.5% claim, and a diverse group of South African investors including SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, and its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation.

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