Solar thermal power projects approved under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme have been progressing well as banks across the world are approving loans.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a loan of €75 million for the Xina concentrating solar power plant in Northern Cape Province. The project is owned by Abengoa Solar which is also developing it. The electricity generated by the project will be sold to Eskom.
The project is being co-financed with the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Clean Technology Fund (CTF), KfW and the World Bank. In June the African Development Bank had agreed to provide $142 million loan that included a concessional financial support of $41.5 million from Clean Technology Fund. The project was awarded to Abengoa Solar during the third auction under REIPPP programme in October 2013.
The construction on the project was scheduled to begin in last month, while the project is expected to start generation in October 2016. Thermal oil will be used as heat transfer fluid and the project will also have a molten salt-based storage facility with five hours storage capacity. The project would use parabolic trough reflectors manufactured by Abengoa Solar.
During the three auctions under REIPPP programme, the South African government has allocated 60 projects. The majority of these projects, 35, would be based on solar photovoltaic technology with a cumulative generation capacity of 1,540 MW. Five solar thermal power plants have also been allocated with a total capacity of 400 MW. Of the four CSP project whose information is available, three have been allocated to Abengoa Solar. These projects have a total generation capacity of 250 MW.
All the three projects are located in the Northern Cape Province and would use either parabolic trough or power tower technology. A 50 MW project using the power tower technology is scheduled to be commissioned in November this year.