Engie starts operations of Kathu solar plant in South Africa

Powerblock6.JPGEngie has announced that commercial operation was achieved for the 100MW Kathu Solar Park in South Africa

This plant is a greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand.

The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5 sq km, with 384,000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for Engie.

The solar park 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. Kathu Solar Park signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) pursuant to the REIPPP procurement programme with the off-taker.

Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie, said, “The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa. Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies.”

Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179,000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park is set to save six million tonnes of CO2 over 20 years and will foster further local economic development through several projects such as the trust for the benefit of the communities situated in the Northern Cape and sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.

The KSP shareholders, which are led by Engie (48.5 per cent), include a group of South African investors comprising 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.

The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar– a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona in addition to the Kelebogile Trust.

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