SolarReserve, a leading global developer of utility-scale solar power projects and advanced solar thermal technology, yesterday announced that two 75-megawatt (MW-DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have completed construction and are fully operational and successfully helping to power the Eskom South African electric grid with renewable energy.
The Lesedi and Letsatsi Projects, totaling 150 MW-DC of installed capacity, are capable of powering more than 130,000 South African homes with clean energy and have provided significant economic benefits to the region. Combined, the two projects generated 2.3 million man-hours during construction. As mandated under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the projects set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities.
Among the largest project finance transactions ever completed in South Africa and largest renewable energy projects in continental Africa, the Lesedi Project and Letsatsi Project, each respectively located in the Northern Cape and the Free State, were selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in the first round of bids under the REIPPPP. The projects have each executed 20-year power purchase agreements with Eskom, the South African power utility company ranked as one of the top 20 utilities in the world by power generation.
“The social and economic benefits that these projects are imparting in South Africa today demonstrate the positive results of close cooperation between the U.S. and South African governments along with private companies in each nation,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith. “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum through collaboration on further projects, including concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plants, featuring SolarReserve’s industry-leading CSP technology with integrated energy storage. Our upcoming CSP projects will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and non-intermittent electricity, day and night.”
The projects were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), GCL Poly Energy Holdings and Intikon Energy. Rand Merchant Bank, the investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank Limited, acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for the projects’ debt funding requirements.
SolarReserve, LLC – headquartered in Santa Monica, California – is a leading developer of large-scale solar energy projects and advanced solar thermal technology with activities worldwide and more than $1.8 billion of projects in construction and operation. SolarReserve has commercialized the world’s leading solar thermal energy storage technology utilizing molten salt in a power tower configuration. SolarReserve’s solar energy storage technology has the capability to deliver clean, reliable electricity “on demand” at any time, day and night. SolarReserve’s experienced team of power project professionals has assembled an extensive 5,000 MW worldwide development portfolio of large-scale solar projects, including some featuring advanced solar thermal technology (CSP) and others utilizing photovoltaic (PV) technology.
SolarReserve’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant located in Nevada is the first utility-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. The project, currently in the commissioning phase, will generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year and includes 10 hours of full-load energy storage. This annual output is more than twice that of other technologies per MW of capacity, such as photovoltaics (PV) or direct steam solar thermal. Nevada’s largest electric utility, NV Energy, will purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated under a 25-year power purchase agreement.