SunPower Starts Construction Of 3rd Project In South Africa

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Construction on another project allocated in the third round auction of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme has began.

SunPower has announced that it has begun construction on an 86 MW solar PV power project in the Northern Cape province which was allocated to a consortium led by France’s Total. Other entities in the consortium include Mulilo Solar Enterprises and a local community trust.

The project will employ single-axis tracker based solar PV modules that are expected to capture 25% more energy compared to fixed solar PV modules.

SunPower has already commissioned two solar PV projects in the country under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), with a cumulative capacity of 33 MW. Both the projects were allocated to AE-AMD Renewable Energy which appointed SunPower for the construction. SunPower claims that power generated from these two projects offsets greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 68,000 tonnes of CO2, and avoids use of 13,425 tons of coal for power generation.

Given the huge success of the REIPPPP in South Africa, SunPower has set up a 160 MW solar PV manufacturing unit in the country. The company may land several other projects in the future, as approximately 6.5 GW renewable energy capacity is yet to be allocated in the future session of auctions.

In June, 2014, South Africa became one of the leading 10 utility-scale solar power markets in the world when it crossed 500 MW of installed solar power capacity. During the first four rounds of auction under the REIPPPP, a total of 79 projects with a cumulative capacity of 5.44 GW have been allocated, including 1.95 GW of solar PV capacity.

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