South Africa is celebrating yet another success of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme with the operationalisation of the country’s first concentrated solar power plant.
Abengoa and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have commissioned a 100 MW solar thermal power project that they had jointly secured during the first auctions of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP). The KaXu Solar One project uses parabolic trough reflectors and was commissioned after about 27 months of construction.
KaXu Solar One also incorporates a storage system that would generate 100 MW electricity for 2.5 hours in absence of solar radiation. Storage system is based on molten salts.
The project is jointly owned by Abengoa, which has a 51% stake, IDC with a 29% stake, and KaXu Community Trust with a 20% stake. The estimated project investment is about $1 billion, the majority of which was provided by several banks including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Abengoa is also working on another 100 MW CSP project adjacent to the KaXu power project. Abengoa owns 100% stake in the Xina Solar project which is expected to be commissioned by 2017. The project will have provision of thermal energy storage for 5 hours. This project, too, uses parabolic trough reflectors.
Abengoa and IDC have partnered for a 50 MW CSP project as well. The Khi Solar One project will use the solar power tower technology. The project will have 2 hours of saturated steam storage capacity.
All these projects have been secured by Abengoa and its partners in auctions held under the REIPPP. These projects have secured financing from several banks including the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Clean Technology Fund (CTF), KfW, and the World Bank. All three projects will supply the electricity generated to Eskom, South Africa’s largest power utility.
During the 3 auctions under the REIPPP, 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 4 CSP projects whose information is available, 3 have been allocated to Abengoa Solar.
Image Credit: Abengoa Solar