Africa’s largest solar power plant has started its operation. Located near Kimberly in South Africa, the new power project is estimated to produce 96 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic on rated capacity and will highly help the country in meeting its electricity demand at a time when it has reported load shedding and persistent power shortage.
The solar power plant, known as Jasper plant is standing as the largest solar farm in Africa in operation and will be producing 180, 000 megawatt-hours of energy in a year. it was being undertaken by SolarReserve as the developers.
Construction of the plant came two months earlier than the set time and will provide electricity enough to power up 80 000 homes.
According to SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith, part of revenues from the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) will go towards benefiting local communities through the Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development.
Jasper power project will give off over 325 000 PV modules, 180 000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity a year, and there is a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company for distribution of the proceeds.
Being a Concentrating Solar Power plant, it generates electricity by converting heat produced on a central point to electricity – the heat results from sunlight being reflected and concentrated onto a central point by means of 10,000 tracking mirrors called heliostats.
The mirrors reside in a 1,500 acre field and reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a large heat exchanger – called a receiver. The receiver sits on a 550-foot tower.