The Aggeneys Solar and Konkoonsies II Solar utility-scale solar plants, in the Northern Cape, have started commercial operations.
The plants add 132 MW to South Africa’s power generation capacity and together generate 33.3 GWh/y of clean energy.
“This is a significant milestone, seeing that these are the company’s first two of four renewable energy power plants feeding the grid,” says BioTherm Energy CEO Robert Skjodt.
He believes there is no doubt that renewable energy offers vast opportunities and should play a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery strategy – not only to improve security of power supply, but also to deliver on the economic and social benefits associated with the renewable energy programme.
The solar plants form part of BioTherm Energy’s portfolio.
BioTherm Energy, which is wholly owned by leading emerging markets investor Actis, has a portfolio of five renewable energy projects in Africa.
The company’s Excelsior Wind and Golden Valley Wind projects are also part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme, while the 100 MW Kipeto wind project is under construction in Kenya.
At the height of construction, the Aggeneys Solar and Konkoonsies II Solar plants provided jobs to 1 000 local workers from the rural surrounding towns of Aggeneys, Witbank, Pofadder, Pella and Onseepkans, based within a 50 km radius of the plants.
These same communities will benefit from the economic development programmes throughout the 20-year operations of the plants, which are located about 35 km from each other.