The California-based renewable energy company SolarReserve, along with Saudi Arabian ACWA Power, have been given the go-ahead by the South African Department of Energy to build a 100 MW solar power + thermal energy storage project in the country.
The approval (and acceptance of the bid) means that the two companies can now finish closing the deal financially — and, also, that the signing of a power-purchase agreement with the state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC can now proceed.
The 100 MW Redstone project is currently expected to come online sometime in 2018, according to recent statements from SolarReserve.
In addition to 100 MW of solar power generating capacity, the project will feature a thermal energy storage system that is intended to help balance out the peaks and troughs of the energy generated by the solar panels. As a result of this storage capacity, there will be backup power available on demand — similar to the setup at a conventional power plant.
Renewable Energy World provides some further details:
The companies’ offer was accepted under the nation’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme that requires applicants to bid on the level of tariff, as well as value to the local and national economy. The facility will create more than 800 jobs during construction, according to the statement. It’s expected to generate more than 6 billion rand (US$520 million) of income tax over its first 20 years of operation.
“Redstone is now the cheapest in terms of tariff for solar thermal in South Africa at a cost of US$124 a MW-hour and the overall project cost is also on the low side at US$715 million,” Campbell said.
With the approval of this project — as well as others in recent months — the solar energy infrastructure of South Africa is continuing to grow at a relatively fast rate. Putting it on course to surpass many of the top countries in the world with regard to total installed solar capacity.
Image Credit: SolarReserve