SunEdison closes US$314 million for South Africa solar projects

soalr  Dave DugdaleConstruction for the Witkop Solar Park and Soutpan Solar Park projects will begin in January 2013. (Image source: Dave Dugdale/Flickr)Solar energy services provider SunEdison has announced that it has closed US$314mn in long-term debt and equity financing for two utility solar projects in South Africa

Standard Bank and Futuregrowth Asset Management will be the two senior debt providers supporting the projects.

The two projects, 30MW Witkop Solar Park and 28MW Soutpan Solar Park, will be the first utility scale solar projects to be implemented in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

As part of the terms of the financing agreement, power generated from the two facilities will be purchased by Eskom, the national utility in South Africa, through a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The Soutpan Solar Park will be expected to interconnect in January of 2014, while the Witkop Solar Park will forecast to interconnect in April of 2014. Construction of both projects will begin in January 2013.

SunEdison has confirmed that it performed extensive tests to determine the optimal design and projected output of the facilities.

Once the projects are operational, they will be monitored around the clock by SunEdison fleet-wide Renewable Operations Center.

SunEdison vice-president and managing director for South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, Pashupathy Gopalan, said, “We understand our projects have a transformational impact on the lives of millions of people. We are delighted that our investments in South Africa will create employment and stimulate business investment.

“The energy delivered by these projects will sustain economic growth bringing both social and fiscal benefits. We are committed to this region and will continue to build our local team moving forward.”

Chuan Lu, vice-president of partner company Chint Solar, said the projects would help to demonstrate the potential of solar power to create jobs and stabilise the electricity supply.

Chuan remarked, “South Africa has higher solar irradiance than other countries which have invested heavily in solar power, such as Germany. Chint Solar has been continuously keeping its commitment to developing solar energy around the world. We are confident that in the years to come, more solar energy projects will be announced.”

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