SA’s newest solar power station is now online and powering 40 000 homes – see how it came to life
86 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power roughly 40,000 homes, has been added to Eskom’s grid after a new solar power plant reached commercial operation.
Scatec Solar’s Sirius solar park is the first of three projects to be completed that will ultimately contribute a combined 258MW, (enough to power 113,000 homes) once they’ve reached commercial operation during the first quarter of 2020.
The three projects are situated on adjacent plots, 25 kilometres outside of Upington in the Northern Cape.
“We are pleased to reach another milestone with the grid connection of our fourth solar power plant in South Africa, with a combined capacity of 276MW”, said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar in a press statement.
Scatec Solar was awarded preferred bidder status for the Upington project in the fourth bidding round under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPP) in 2015.
The projects reached financial close in April 2018, and construction started in the third quarter 2018.
Scatec Solar, which holds 42% of the new project, now has a 448MW asset base in South Africa. Globally Scatec Solar has installed more than 1.3 GW worth of renewable energy.
Once completed the 27 renewable-energy independent power producer projects can add 2,300MW to Eskom’s struggling grid, as noted on the IPP projects website, generated from a mixture of wind, solar, biomass, and hydro.
While they won’t be enough to solve load shedding altogether, their combined output is equivalent to all the power rationed during stage 2 load shedding, and could help prevent the use of expensive emergency diesel generators.
Wido Schnabel, chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), says some 813MW worth of power from solar projects will also be coming online from late February 2020.
These are on schedule to reach full capacity by November 2020.
Solar takes an average construction period of 12 to 18 months for a large PV park.