OPIC Clears $400 Million Finance For South Africa CSP Project

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A concentrated solar power project in South Africa has secured approval for debt financing from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced last week that it would provide $400 million in debt to a 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project being developed jointly by SolarReserve and ACWA Power.

ACWA Power secured the right to develop the project during the third round auction of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPPP) and will use solar power tower technology similar to the one being used in SolarReserve’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes CSP project in Nevada, US.

Tecnicas Reunidas and TSK Group will work as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractors. The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Plant will be located in Postmasburg in the Northern Cape province and is expected to generate 480,000 MWh electricity every year. The project will also have molten salt-based thermal storage facility with storage capacity of 12 hours.

Commercial operations at the power plant are scheduled to commence in 2018.

During the first four rounds of auction under the REIPPPP, a total of 79 projects with a cumulative capacity of 5.44 GW were allocated, including 1.95 GW of solar PV capacity and 7 CSP projects with a cumulative capacity of 600 MW. Other companies that are working on CSP projects in South Africa include GDF Suez and Abengoa Solar. Of the 7 projects, 5 are based on parabolic trough reflectors technology, while two (including the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Plant) are based on power tower technology.

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