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Xina Solar in South Africa

Back in August 2017, the Xina Solar Project began commercial operations. The facility serves as one of South Africa’s first solar thermal power plants. Quite impressively, its design features a thermal energy storage system. It enables the 100 MW Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant to operate during peak hours. More especially, where there’s a higher demand for electrical energy.

Officially, ENGIE announced that it successfully completed the acquisition of Abengoa’s indirect stake in Xina Solar One (Pty) Ltd. As a result, the french multinational utility company now holds a 40% equity stake in the solar power plant. Quite impressively, the Xina Solar Project boasts a total investment of US$800 million.

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Abengoa completes sale of Xina Solar One to Engie

Reported On 19 March. 2015

South Africa: Xina Solar Project to cost US $880m

Financing for the 100MW Xina Solar One project has been secured. It will be undertaken through a partnership between Abengoa Group, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Public Investment Corporation, and the Kaxu Community Trust, The solar power project, will be at the Northern Cape South Africa. At an estimate, it will cost US $660m alongside, a total investment of US 800m.

The parabolic trough concentrated solar power (CSP) project will have the capacity to store thermal energy for up to five hours. It will be the third South African CSP Project done by Abengoa with the Spanish group having 40 percent consortium ownership. The Xina solar power project site near Pofadder will be alongside the recently completed 100MW Kaxu Solar One Project, done by the same consortium.

Steady Progress

The consortium collectively funded the project. Meanwhile, other funds came from the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Local banks such as Nedbank, Ranch Merchant Bank, and Absa also showed support.

According to Abengoa, the location of the Xina and Ka XaXu CSP plants will create the largest solar platform in sub-Saharan Africa. With a storage system that lasts for five hours, electricity produced by the plant can be used after sunset to meet the evening peak demand by consumers in the country.

Xina was chosen as the preferred solar power project bidder in the third round of bidding under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Eskom has already signed a 20 years power purchase from this project.

The government has undertaken other solar power projects and recently announced a bid for the construction of Upington and Kimberley Airport solar PV plant, bids which were to close on March 2 and March 5 respectively.

Reported On 18 Aug 2017

Abengoa completes Xina Solar One solar thermal plant in South Africa

Abengoa, a Spanish multinational corporation has achieved practical completion of a 100MW Xina Solar One plant. The project is its third solar thermal plant in South Africa. It uses parabolic trough technology to generate power from the sun. Moreover, the plant features a thermal energy storage system using molten salts. It can store the necessary energy for a further 5.5-hour supply. This helps in meeting the country’s high power demand.

Gonzalo Urquijo, the company’s Executive Chairman, said the completion of the Xina Solar One project represents a firm step forward for the company. “Moreover, the plant also demonstrates the talent and commitment of the Abengoa team as well as validating the trust that the market has in us,” he further added.

Xina Solar One- operation

According to a statement by the company, Xina Solar One is South Africa’s first solar thermal plant. It is designed to operate on the basis of the ‘energy sale windows’ that are detailed in an electricity calendar. This is in accordance with the agreement signed with the national power utility, Eskom, and the final client of the plant, to which the production at the plant is aligned.

The practical completion document certifies the plant’s correct operation following commissioning. This is in order for it to be handed over to the final client, the Industrial Development Corporation, the government employee pension fund which is represented by the Public Investment Corporation, the Xina Community Trust, and Abengoa.

Public-private initiative

This project is a public-private initiative awarded by the South African Department of Energy. It will provide clean energy to Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement. It is located in the Northern Cape Province, bordered to the north by Kaxu Solar One.

Kaxu Solar One was the first power plant in operation that featured parabolic trough collector technology. This is a 100MW output and 2.5 hours of thermal molten salt storage.

Reported On 18 Oct 2017

Xina US $880m CSP plant completes the first month of operation

The US $880m Xina concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Pofadder, South Africa has successfully completed its first month of commercial operation. Mott MacDonald was the lenders’ Technical Advisor during the project’s financing and construction stages and will now monitor operations in an ongoing role.

Xina solar plant capacity

Awarded during the third round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP), the 100MW plant is expected to generate approximately 400GWh of energy per year.

This will be sufficient to provide electricity to 95,000 homes. On the other hand, the use of CSP will prevent the emission of 348,000 tons of CO2 annually. Xina also features the largest parabolic trough collector used in a commercial CSP project to date.

As the lender’s technical advisor, Mott MacDonald provided technical, environmental, and social due diligence prior to the financial close. The consultancy then provided construction monitoring services, helping the project attain practical completion to commence operations.

According to Alberto Cuellar, Mott MacDonald’s Project Manager, this is the first CSP project in South Africa that will benefit from the time-of-day payment structure. This tariff incentivizes generation during peak demand hours. It will allow the plant to capitalize on the dispatchable energy that CSP technology can offer to the grid.

“We have worked closely with the lenders and project company during the successful delivery of this project. This provides further evidence of our world-class capability in the CSP sector,” he said.

“We are currently working on all seven CSP projects awarded under REIPPP to date. Either as lenders’ Technical Advisor or owner’s Engineer and we look forward to continuing to support the development of the CSP sector in South Africa,” Alberto added.

Reported On 24 May 2018

Abengoa inaugurates 100MW CSP park in South Africa

South Africa’s Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, recently officiated the opening of the 100MW Xina Solar One concentrating solar power plant (CSP) near Pofadder, in the Northern Cape. According to Radebe, the project is a major milestone in a country still heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Xina Solar One, located near the city of Pofadder, is owned by a consortium between Abengoa, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Public Investment Corporation and the Xina Community Trust.

It uses cylindrical-parabolic collector technology and a thermal storage system with molten salts that can store the needed energy for a further 5.5-hour supply. The facility has now been producing electricity for over nine months at full load. Its output is enough for over 95,000 local homes and mitigates around 348,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.

An in-Depth Look Into The Xina Solar Project

Abengoa owns a 40% stake in the project and is its largest shareholder. Its partners are the South Africa-based development finance group Industrial Development Corp, IDC, the Public Investment Corporation, PIC, and the Xina Community Trust, with each of them holding a 20% interest.

Xina Solar One is the country’s first CSP plant to operate on the basis of the “energy sale windows”. Production at the plant aligns with that calendar and will be bought by local utility Eskom for 20 years.

Power generating plants

This is the Spanish firm’s third solar thermal power generating facility in South Africa after the 100MW KaXu Solar One, which has been operating since 2015, and the 50MW Khi Solar One park, generating power since early 2016.

The 300-ha solar thermal plant became fully operational on August 1 last year. It follows the successful launch of two other solar thermal plants in the Northern Cape, Kaxu Solar One and Khi Solar One.

The US $743m Xina Solar One project will supply clean electricity to State-owned Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

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