De Wildt solar power plant in South Africa enters commercial operation

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De Wildt solar power plant situated within the Madibeng local municipality, close to the town of Brits, in the North West province of South Africa, has entered into commercial operations, following its successful construction completion.

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The 50 MW photovoltaic plant is made up of 169 140 solar modules that draw from the intense North West sun. It is expected to feed 123 GWh/y into the Southern Africa country’s national power grid, through Zolograph switching station, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) signed between Eskom, the South African electricity public utility, and De Wildt Solar, the owner of the power plant.

The project is the fourth utility-scale plant that has come online in the North West religion of the country in under five months, making the province a key player in the renewable energy sector.

Benefits of the De Wildt solar power plant to the host community

According to Nomzamo Landingwe, De Wildt Solar’s chief community operations officer, 400 people from the project hosting and neighboring communities were directly employed during the phase of construction. This is in addition to the employment opportunities created through the contracting out of various services.

Furthermore, Landingwe said that residents of Brits, Mmakau, Mothotlung, Lethlabile, Ga-Rankuwa, and the surrounding areas within a 50 km radius of the project will also benefit from the economic development projects.

“These projects include training and accelerator programs, skills development training, and other welfare initiatives. For example, the installation of a waterless ablution facility from Enviro Loo for the Rutanang HIV Care Centre to replace the use of old drop toilets that are generally unhygienic and regarded as unsafe,” explained the De Wildt Solar chief community operations, officer.