ABB to build pilot solar power plants in South Africa

Photovoltaic plants, solar, power, Mpumalanga, Lethabo, Carlos, Prone, ABB, africaPhotovoltaic plants to facilitate solar power and support push for renewables in energy mix ABB will construct two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants for Eskom, South Africa’s national electricity provider. The pilot plants, each of one hectare, will be located on greenfield sites adjacent to the coal-fired power stations at Lethabo, in the Free State province, and Kendal in the Mpumalanga province. They will be the first of their kind built in the country.

At the Kendal power station, ABB will provide a fixed tilt solar PV power plant with a station capacity of 620 kilowatts (kW) and production potential of 1,144,539 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. At the Lethabo site, the installation will comprise a single-axis tracking solar PV power plant with a peaking capacity of 575 kW and a production potential of 1,249,147 kWh per year.

“ABB is really proud to provide their world-class technology for these pilot solar PV projects,” says Carlos Pone, Country Manager, ABB in South Africa. “They are the first of their kind in PV technology in the country and we are elated to be associated with them,” he said.


Remote operation

The PV plants will be designed to operate independently to produce electrical power for use by the existing power stations and will be capable of remote operation and monitoring. The fast track projects are scheduled to be completed by November 2011 prior to the COP (Conference of Parties) 17 event on climate change to be held in Durban later that month.

“These orders will afford ABB in South Africa with the opportunity for transfer of skills in solar technology which will complement and further enhance the local capabilities in engineering and project management,” said Carlos Pone.

ABB has an extensive offering of products, systems and service solutions for the solar sector and has successfully executed a significant number of turnkey PV projects around the world. The company also recently invested in Novatec Solar, a leading provider of Linear Fresnel Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology, which uses flat mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy onto a receiver to produce steam.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 130,000 people.

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