As of 23 February 2018, Kathu Solar Park Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant has been feeding 100MW of power to Eskom’s electricity grid via a 132kV distribution line.

Main and auxiliary transformers have been energised, which represents a relevant milestone for the solar thermal power plant commissioning activities.

Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant. Credit: Courtesy of SENER

This notable achievement comes amid the halt of the renowned government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

“With this key milestone for the Kathu project, we reassure our commitment to tackling the South Africa’s need for a reliable and sustained energy supply and the improvement of the grid stability, and therefore, we have focused on deploying our patented Concentrated Solar Power to support clean energy generation,” says Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER regional managing director in Southern Africa.

The Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant, which will supply clean energy to 179,000 homes, is equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to extend the operational capacity of the plant after sunset and uses SENERtrough-2 collectors, specifically designed to improve efficiency of the plant.

Also commenting on the milestone was the chief operating officer of ACCIONA Industrial, Roberto Felipe, who said: “This project milestone has only been achieved in time and with high quality standards thanks to the Joint Venture’s ability to develop this project in the South African market.

“We have focused on working with local entities and communities in the region, which is why we are executing Concentrated Solar Power Kathu with excellence.”

Kathu Solar Park is one of the awarded projects in the third round of the REIPPPP led by the South African Department of Energy.

However, the programme has been on halt for three years now with Eskom refusing to sign any further Power Purchase Agreements with independent power producers.