ABO Wind sells 100MW South African PV project

The Droogfontein solar plant in South Africa. Credit: Globeleq.

German renewable energy project developer ABO Wind has sold a 100MW solar PV project in South Africa’s North West Province to an unnamed investor.

The project is the final third of a 300MW solar project cluster, the first 200MW of which ABO Wind sold in 2022. It is fully developed, permitted and ready to build.

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ABO Wind said that the purchasing investor has signed a  private power purchase agreement (PPA) with an undisclosed offtaker for the power produced at the plant.

“We started working on this project when we first entered the South African market in 2018,” says Rob Invernizzi, general manager of the South African subsidiary of ABO Wind. “Our development team has done an excellent job in fully developing the project, and the finance & sales team has set a sound financial basis and ensured a smooth sale.”

ABO said that its project pipeline in South Africa currently sits at around 4.6GW of renewables generation capacity. It added that the prospective projects will be suitable for both private corporate offtakers – like this 100MW project – and also for the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the long-standing power purchasing mechanism.

PV Tech Premium published a piece earlier this year examining the rise of privately-funded solar projects over REIPPPP projects in South Africa off the back of the government’s decision to drastically reduce the domestic content requirements for solar equipment deployed in government-backed developments.

One of the major barriers – and perhaps long-term opportunities – for solar development in South Africa is its unstable grid. Eskom, the national grid operator, regularly has to shut down power to account for the grid’s weaknesses, a practice known as “load-shedding”. As reported by our sister publication Energy-storage.news, in April the Mayor of Cape Town revealed plans for a US$65 million solar-plus-storage project to reduce the city’s reliance on Eskom and end load-shedding in the capital.

A July report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) found that South Africa needs to prioritise grid-located energy storage as a solution to load-shedding and reduce reliance on the country’s coal generation fleet.

Of its remaining project pipeline, ABO claimed that “A large proportion of the projects in the pipeline are in areas with excellent resource and good grid capacity and are already bid-compliant for available tender programs.”

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