SolarReserve has announced the completion of South Africa’s 96 MW Jasper solar power plant, the final link in a 246 MW chain of grid-connected PV projects designed to solve intermittency problems in the country’s Northern Cape electricity network.
The Jasper plant came online two months ahead of schedule and joins sister solar farms Lesedi and Letsatsi – finished in May and with a combined capacity of 150 MW – in providing clean energy for more than 210,000 homes and employment for thousands of South African solar workers.
More than 325,000 solar panels were used in the Jasper project and 800 jobs were created during construction. Delivering 180,000 megawatt-hours annually, Jasper is the largest photovoltaic solar facility on the African continent and generates around 17 per cent more electricity than the Lesedi and Letsatsi plants.
South African utility provider Eskom Energy signed on to a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with all three projects.
“In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region,” said SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith. “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum and bringing value to South Africa through collaboration on further projects, including our upcoming CSP projects that will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and on-intermittent electricity, day and night.”
Flipping the switch on Jasper marks the successful conclusion of one of South Africa’s biggest project finance deals. SolarReserve partnered with the nation’s Public Investment Corporation and an international consortium consisting of financial heavyweights including Google, Intikon Energy, Kensani Capital Investments and the Rand Merchant Bank.
The transaction forms part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), which mandates a percentage of total revenues flow back into a development fund to benefit local communities.
According to SolarReserve, a proposed 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant featuring molten salt storage could soon form part of the Jasper-Lesedi-Lesatsi solar park. Redstone, if realised, would rival SolarReserve’s massive 110 MW Crescent Dunes CSP Project in the Nevada desert. Once completed, the facility will generate 500,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually and power up to 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods.