Abengoa achieves practical completion for Xina Solar One, its third concentrated solar power plant in South Africa

Abengoa achieves practical completion for Xina Solar One, its third concentrated solar power plant in South Africa

Abengoa has achieved practical completion for Xina Solar One, its third solar thermal plant in South Africa.

Xina Solar One is a 100 MW plant that uses parabolic trough technology to generate renewable and sustainable and dispatchable power from the sun. Furthermore, this power plant features a thermal energy storage system using molten salts that can store the necessary energy for a further 5.5 hour supply, and thereby assist in meeting the South African peak demand.

According to Gonzalo Urquijo, Executive Chairman of Abengoa, “The completion of the Xina Solar One project in South Africa represents a firm step forward for the company and demonstrates the talent and commitment of the Abengoa team in addition to validating the trust that the market has placed in us.” He added, “We are pleased to have undertaken this great achievement and contribute to the sustainable development in a country that is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.”

Xina Solar One is located near Pofadder, in the Northern Cape Province, and is bordered to the north by Kaxu Solar One, another Abengoa project. Kaxu Solar One was the first power plant in operation that featured parabolic trough collector technology in the country, a 100 MW output and 2.5 hours of thermal molten salt storage. Both plants make up the largest solar platform in sub-Saharan Africa, helping South Africa meet its ongoing energy demands by supplying clean and reliable electricity. Xina Solar One features important technical improvements in its solar field and storage system which makes it a very competitive plant.

With the addition of Xina Solar One, Abengoa has now constructed a total of three solar thermal plants in South Africa. The other two plants are already in commercial operation, KaXu Solar One has been operating since 2015, and the 50 MW Khi Solar One plant, since the beginning of 2016. The latter was the first tower plant placed in operation in Africa and in South Africa.

Thanks to this project Abengoa has helped to regenerate the economic, social, industrial and environmental fabric of this area in South Africa. During the construction phase, job creation peaked at over 1,300 positions, to which another 80 will now be added during the operation phase, over the next 25 years. Now that the project is operational, the plant will produce clean energy to serve more than 95,000 South African households and will prevent the emission of 348,000 tons of CO2 each year. Furthermore, Xina Solar One is the country’s first solar thermal plant designed to operate on the basis of the so-called ‘energy sale windows’ that are detailed in an electricity calendar, in accordance with the agreement signed with Eskom, South Africa’s power utility and final client of the plant, to which the production at the plant is  aligned.

The practical completion document certifies the plant’s correct operation following commissioning, in order for it to be handed over to the final client, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the government employee pension fund represented by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Xina Community Trust and Abengoa. The project, which is public-private initiative awarded by South Africa’s Department of Energy (DOE) will provide clean and reliable energy to Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

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