Nine solar projects approved under round two of South Africa renewables programme

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South Africa has inked agreements with the preferred bidders for nine solar projects under the Window 2 of the government’s renewable programme.

The projects given the go ahead under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) are Solar Capital De Aar 3 (75MW), Sishen Solar Facility (74MW), Aurora (9MW), Vredendal (8.8MW), Linde (36.8MW), Dreunberg (69.6MW), Jasper Power Company (75MW), Boshoff Solar Park (60MW) and Upington Solar PV (8.9 MW).

Energy minister Dipuo Peters said: “Today is an important day because it is another opportunity that presents itself to our successful bidders and [national electricity utilitiy] Eskom to enter into the requisite agreements that will see the continuation of the programme. This is also an opportune time for us to reflect on the significant strides in our programme. The path we have traversed was characterised by criticism and scepticism with seeds of doubt planted about the ability of South Africa being able to pull this off.”

The Department of Energy has also finalised implementation agreements and direct agreements with each bidder, while Eskom has signed power purchase agreements with the bidders.

Once all the projects are complete, Eskom will purchase the generated electricity.

Mongezi Ntsokolo, transmission director at Eskom, said: “The signing ceremony marks a transition to a new era. The ceremony brings to life government’s commitment to change the energy landscape and to grow the economy.”

In total 19 bidders were selected of which nine were for the solar PV projects with a combined capacity of up to 417.1MW, seven for wind, two for small hydro and one for concentrated solar thermal (CSP).

All the projects will be located in Eastern Cape, Free State, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.

South Africa is expected to generate 3,725MW of renewable clean energy under the second round of the REIPPP programme.

The first round of the REIPPP programme has approved 28 projects, most of which are now under construction. “Everything is on track,” said Ompie Aphane, deputy director general for clean energy at the DOE.

The submission deadline for bids for round three of the REIPPP programme is 19 August 2013.

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