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Major solar power plant in South Africa launched

A solar power plant in South Africa constructed by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA has been launched. Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa was developed by a group of companies led by ACWA Power.

The 50 MW project was the only CPS plant selected in the second round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP). The project was rated third worldwide and is the first in a series of investments rolled out by ACWA Power in the South African mainly targeting power sector.

The company is also expected to start on the construction of a 100MW Redstone Concentrated solar power project in the Northern Cape again later this year. It is also waiting results of tender submissions for a 300MW coal-powered plant in Mpumalanaga.

According to a report compiled by Reuters Africa, the plant that cost US$3.3 billions is expected to produce 1,300 megawatts (MW) per hour upon completion and is expected to power more than 200,000 homes. Bokpoort has its headquarters in Johannesburg while the plant is located in a remote area in the Northern Cape Province approximately 120KM south east of Upington.

Construction tender for the plant was awarded to Saudi Arabian based ACWA Power International in the capacity of operating partner. The construction itself started in 2013. The roll out of this project was part of South Africa’s broad plan to expand the use of renewable energy.

This development is expected to correct the energy deficit in South Africa that currently faces chronic power shortages due to a cash crunch being experienced by the state –owned utility provider Eskom. Solar power developers find South Africa a conducive market of interest due to favorable weather conditions, an initiative the South African government is earnestly encouraging.

The construction of the plant created more than 13000 jobs for the local communities that were largely dependent on agriculture.


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