PIC pours USD 1.8bn in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects in South Africa

PIC pours USD 1.8bn in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects in South Africa

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) of Africa plans to invest 22 billion rand ($1.8 billion) in two South African concentrated solar power plants.

The Public Investment Corporation will hold a 20 percent stake in two concentrated solar power facilities in the Northern Cape province, Xina and Ilangalethu, which will have a combined 200 MW of energy. The Ilangalethu project will also get 600 million rand of debt financing.

Eskom Holdings SOC generates 95 percent of the nation’s power and is finding it difficult to meet demand from old aged plants and has introduced rolling blackouts to extend supply. The state-owned utility is facing a 225 billion-rand cash flow gap through March 2018.

The severe energy shortages are pushing the government to seek alternative sources of electricity from Eskom’s fleet of coal-powered stations that take much longer to build.

With year-round sunshine and miles of windswept coast in South Africa, investors are recognizing the renewable energy potential, to ease the regular blackouts that are affecting the industries.

In January, the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) awarded preferred bidder status for a 100 MW Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project to a consortium led by SolarReserve and International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power).

The project was developed in response to the DOE’s Round 3 (CSP) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The Redstone Solar Thermal Power project, with the lowest tariff bid to date from any CSP project in the country, is scheduled to achieve financial close later in 2015 and commence operations in early 2018.

In another development, SolarReserve has completed the 96 MW photovoltaic (PV) Jasper solar power project, almost two months ahead of schedule.

Jasper is located in South Africa’s Northern Cape in a solar park that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project and the proposed 100 MW Redstone CSP plant featuring SolarReserve’s CSP technology with integrated energy storage.