Consortium’s 150MW projects awarded preferred bidder status by South African government

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The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a joint venture between SolarReserve, a US developer of utility-scale solar power projects, the Kensani Group, an empowered infrastructure player in the Southern African market and Intikon Energy, a South African developer of renewable energy projects, preferred bidder status. Installing two 75MW plants, the consortium’s new status will give them the right to proceed with executing a 20-year government-supported power purchase agreement with the South African power utility company, Eskom.

South Africa's Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced the preferred bidders under the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme at the Conference of the Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Durban, South Africa. The selection under the competitive bidding process was based on meeting strict project qualifications, economic development criteria and competitive electricity prices. The first round consists of awards of 1,400MW of renewable energy projects including 632MW of PV projects, with the SolarReserve/Kensani/Intikon consortium capturing two of the largest projects.

The projects were among an initial batch of 53 bids submitted for the November 4 bid window and represent a potential capacity of 1,415.52MW with a potential investment representing billions of rand.

Kensani Capital Advisory is the financial advisor with Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, appointed as the lead arranger and underwriter to the projects. “The projects will require an investment of approximately ZAR5.0 billion, or more than US$600 million, over the next two years,” said Wandile Motlana, chairman of the Kensani Group. “Once constructed, the projects will be among the largest solar projects on the African continent; while providing substantial long-term community uplift through rural development programs, skills and technology transfer and education enhancement.”

The solar projects will be built in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa, with construction scheduled to commence by June 2012.

Stephen Donnelly, managing director of Intikon Energy said, “The Letsatsi and Lesedi PV projects will generate clean, renewable energy to power over 50,000 homes in South Africa while also delivering meaningful and sustainable economic and social benefits.”

“This award of preferred bidder status from the South Africa DOE for the Letsatsi and Lesedi projects is a substantial milestone for SolarReserve as we continue expanding our diversified portfolio of photovoltaic and concentrated solar power projects globally,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve. “We appreciate the support of the South African government and look forward to working with our joint venture partners and the communities where the projects are located to contribute to the country's renewable energy generation and economic development goals.” 

SolarReserve, Intikon and Kensani are cooperating further to develop CSP projects in South Africa utilizing SolarReserve's advanced molten salt power tower technology with fully integrated energy storage which provides reliable, zero-emission electricity on-demand, day or night.

The preferred bidders included 18 solar PV projects, eight onshore wind projects and two CSP projects.

The PV projects named, range in size from 5MW to 75MW, include: the SlimSun Swartland solar park (5MW), the RustMo1 solar farm (6.76MW), Mulilo Renewable Energy Solar PV De Aar (9.65MW), Konkoonsies Solar(9.65MW), Aries Solar (9.65MW), the Greefspan PV power plant (10MW), the Herbert PV power plant (19.9MW), the Mulilo Renewable Energy solar PV Prieska (19.93MW), the Soutpan solar park (28MW), the Witkop solar park (30MW), the Touwsrivier project (36MW), De Aar Solar PV (48.25MW), the South Africa Mainstream Renewable Power Droogfontein project (48.25MW), the Kalkbult project (72.5MW), the Kathu solar energy facility (75MW) and Solar Capital De Aar (75MW).

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