South Africa: Solar Project Launches in Northern Cape

Last week, Spanish multinational Abengoa S.A. launched the Xina Solar One project in the Northern Cape Region of South Africa. Officiating the inauguration, South Africa’s Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said the project was a critical milestone in a country that is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

The project is one of seven solar power projects planned under the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

At the cost of R9.4 billion ($740 million) the solar thermal plant will produce 100 MW of power and supply South African power utility Eskom with clean electricity under a 20-year purchase agreement. “Xina, and projects like it under the programme, have helped to solve South Africa’s energy crisis, and we believe that many new projects, using renewable energy, as well as gas-to-power, will need to be developed and constructed in the future,” said Dominic Goncalves, Abengoa’s Vice-President for Business Development.

While contributing to the move towards a more diverse energy mix and helping South Africa achieve its goal of introducing 17,800 MW of renewable energy by 2030, the Xina Solar One project will power approximately 95,000 houses.

The project was completed in August 2017, and recently began supplying power to the grid. It created a reported 1,300 job opportunities during its construction stage. Xina Solar One is one of three solar projects built by Abengoa since the launch of the REIPPPP in 2011.