The Sola Group, an autonomous energy producer, Commences the development of a solar facility within the North West province, south Africa. This development follows the IPP’s successful negotiations with local commercial banks and partners, securing the necessary funding to kickstart the construction of a 132MWp solar project in the province.
This construction effort coincides with South Africa’s ongoing struggle with severe energy shortages, prompting the nation to explore renewable energy solutions.
The state-owned power company, Eskom, primarily generates electricity from fossil fuel-based power plants, and the country’s electricity woes are largely attributed to inadequate maintenance at these facilities.
In an official announcement, the Sola Group disclosed that their project will supply electricity to platinum mining operations managed by African Rainbow Minerals. This will be accomplished through a long-term power purchase agreement, utilizing the national grid for energy transmission to the mining sites.
Eskom plays a crucial role in overseeing the measurement and reconciliation of energy from the generator to consumer accounts as a key partner in this endeavor.
Construction cost for the Solar Facility in south Africa
Construction cost for the solar facility is expected to be R2.5 billion this project is also set to produce an annual output of 270GWh of clean electricity, making a valuable contribution to the national grid’s power supply.
This electricity is generated through the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy, representing a 100% carbon-free energy source. Ownership of the project is shared between Sola Group and African Rainbow Energy, with significant financial support provided by Absa, Standard Bank, DBSA, and Nedbank through senior lending arrangements.
Sola Group highlights the distinctively South African nature of this project, emphasizing that the financing, ownership, construction, and design are entirely domestically sourced.
Remarkably, this marks Sola Group’s third major renewable energy project finalized in just six months, increasing their total construction capacity to 390MW. To put it in perspective, this equates to 588,000 solar panels spanning across a 750-hectare area, according to the group.
It’s worth noting that In the previous year, African Rainbow Energy and Sola successfully reached financial closure on 200MW solar PV projects valued at R4 billion for Tronox Mineral Sands.
The Sola Group points out that their combined 390MW projects will contribute almost 1 terawatt-hour (TWh) of electricity annually, which is approximately 11% of the country’s electricity supply deficit.
Furthermore, these projects have played a pivotal role in generating 1,200 employment opportunities. In addition to delivering more affordable and eco-friendly energy to the grid, this initiative also fosters local economic development in regions where employment prospects have traditionally been limited. Chris Haw, the Executive Director and Co-founder of Sola Group, emphasized this positive impact.
Sola Group is set to oversee both the construction and operation of this facility through a collaborative effort with the South African construction firm WBHO.
Brian Dames, the CEO of African Rainbow Energy, highlights the significance of this project, along with two additional projects currently underway in the North West province, collectively representing over 300MWAC. These projects are injecting a substantial R6.4 billion in investments into the province. Additionally, Brian Dames noted that African Rainbow Energy has now invested in a total of 1 gigawatt of renewable energy projects.
“This underscores our dedication as a prominent clean energy firm to establish a modern, privately-owned utility that leverages technology to deliver clean energy solutions to major clients. We are steadfast in our support for the transformation of the energy sector, job creation, and positively impacting the lives of the people of South Africa.”