Kathu Solar Park, one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy project has started commercial operation, its major shareholder Engie has announced.
The project will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole.
In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years.
The solar park is a greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand.
It covers approximately 4.5 km², with 384,000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for ENGIE.
The Kathu Solar Park shareholders, which are led by ENGIE (48.5%), include a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, and its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation.
The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar– a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona in addition to the Kelebogile Trust.
In South Africa, ENGIE has interests in a wind farm (94 MW Aurora), 2 solar photovoltaic parks (21 MW) and 2 thermal power peaking plants (670 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa). ENGIE also owns Thermaire Investments (Pty) Ltd. and Ampair (Pty) Ltd., leaders in the HVAC installation and maintenance segment in the South African market.