Investment in solar energy is continuing in South Africa with the announcement on Thursday the 30th of may 2013 of Google’s $12m investment in the Northern Cape’s 96MW solar photovoltaic Jasper Power Plant.
Eskom the national power producer could see the first power procured from the first round of the independent power producer procurement programme by year-end. Many of the projects coming of the ground from the 18 preferred bidders in the first window of the Department of Energy’s renewable energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (IPP) programme already at build phase.
Independent Power Producers.
The first group IPP bid winners will generate a total of 631MW of electricity from solar power parks ranging in capacity from a small 5MW to larger plants. South Africa’s power supply is urgently in need of extra capacity as it has been running on a thin reserves since about 2008. In 2008 demand outstripped supply, causing a range of blackouts that damaged the economy to the tune of R50bn.
The Jasper project was developed and funded by US-based SolarReserve and South African companies Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, as well as the Public Investment Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
When completed, Jasper would be one of the largest solar installations in Africa, capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes, Google said in a statement.
The consortium is expecting to bid for an additional 1,500MW of solar photovoltaic projects in subsequent bid rounds.
At the start of this the week, South African Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters launched another of the projects from the first window of the IPP programme. The development of the RustMo1 Solar Power Plant is the first solar energy park in North West and the first renewable energy project that will supply power to the Eskom grid and produce 250,000MW of energy over the next 20 years.
This 7MW solar photovoltaic power plant was awarded to Momentous Energy, a local black-owned development company. The project includes the installation of 11 inverters and 29,808 photovoltaic solar modules, with a step-up transformer to connect to the 88kV substation.
South Africa is in dire need of more energy after 10 years of Eskom’s pleas for investment in generation capacity being ignored. Solar Power will become a major part of South Africa’s energy needs.
The investment in solar power is not only good for South Africa’s energy requirements it should add to highly needed employment as well.