SA’s First Grid-Connected Solar PV Plant
Norway-based Scatec Solar announced on Monday that it had completed its 75-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Kalkbult in the Northern Cape three months ahead of schedule, making it first project under South Africa’s renewable energy programme for private producers to be grid connected and operational.
Scatec Solar was one of 28 independent power producers that signed contracts with the government late last year, in the first round of a programme that will see an initial 1 400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy being added to South Africa’s energy mix, while bringing an estimated R47-billion in new investment into the country.
The Department of Energy aims to bring 17 800 MW from renewable sources online by 2030.
Scatec Solar has been awarded three projects with total capacity of 190 MW under the government’s programme. Construction of its next two projects, located in the Northern and Eastern Cape, has started and completion is expected by the middle of next year.
The completed Kalkbult plant consists of more than 312 000 solar panels mounted on 156 kilometres of substructure, inverters, transformers and a sub-station.
Kalkbult’s electricity will be sold to state company Eskom through a 20-year purchase agreement. According to Scatec Solar, the annual production of 135-million kWh will cover the electricity demand of 33 000 households, while reducing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by almost 115 000 tons per year.
"The South African authorities are committed to implementing an ambitious renewable energy programme, 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," Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said in a statement on Monday.
"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." [x]