Abengoa has begun construction of its 50MW Khi Solar One solar tower and 100MW, KaXu Solar One parabolic trough plant in South Africa.
The two concentrating solar power plants (CSP) are part of 28 renewable energy projects the South African Department of Energy (DOE) intends to bring online in order to provide more renewable energy for the country’s grid.
Abengoa will build, operate and maintain the plants and claim a 51% stake in the projects. The state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) holds 29% of the remaining ownership in the projects, while the Black Economic Empowerment programme claimed the remaining 20%.
The Khi Solar One and KaXu Solar One arrays will use Abengoa’s dry cooling technology, which is said to diminish water consumption by nearly two thirds when compared with other CSP plants. They hold a storage capacity of around two hours for the Khi project and three hours for KaXu. Abengoa noted the Khi Solar One project is its third commercial solar tower and its first outside of Spain. The tower will be 200m high and use over 4,500 heliostat moving mirrors.
The plants have signed a 20-year power purchase agreements with South African utility Eskom and closed project finance agreements with a group of South African and international finance institutions, including the European Investment Bank. The bank plans to invest €50 million (US$64 million) in the project, which is its first large CSP project in sub-Saharan Africa.
Both CSP installations are located in the Northern Cape Province near Upington and Pofadder, respectively.