ENGIE launches 100 MW solar power project in South Africa
The Kathu Solar Park will provide clean and reliable energy to 179,000 homes in South Africa.
ENGIE, a global energy and services group, has announced the successful commercial operation of the 100 megawatts (MW) Kathu Solar Park (KSP) in South Africa. The solar park is a greenfield concentrated solar power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology, equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand.
“The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to the economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa,” said Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE. “We are proud to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, and we look forward to continuing the project initiated with local communities to make Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”
According to a statement released by the energy company on Wednesday, Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179,000 homes in John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality in the Northern Cape province, and South Africa as a whole. It is also expected that the KSP will save six million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 20 years and foster local economic development through several projects, including sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.
The KSP was awarded under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP), a competitive tender process that was launched to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy generation. KSP signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement, following the REIPPP programme with the buyer.
Kathu, according to the statement, is the first CSP development for ENGIE. For over 50 years, ENGIE has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3,000 MW.
The shareholders of the KSP, led by ENGIE with 48.5 per cent, include SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, the Netherlands Development Finance Company, the German Investment Corporation and the Public Investment Corporation.
Headquartered in France, ENGIE aims to be the reference partner in several African countries for power plants, energy services to businesses and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers by 2025. It already has more than one million customers with domestic solar installations and local microgrids.
The government should also provide support for low-income households to be able to acquire clean cookstoves.
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