The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has approved loan facilities worth R9,668.50 billion (US$980 million) earmarked for 13 solar projects in South Africa. Combined, the projects have a total capacity of 762.6MW.
Of the 13 projects, eight are PV projects, four are concentrated solar power (CSP) projects and one is a concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) project. The eight PV projects — which will all be built on the Northern Cape bar one which will be located in the Free State — have a combined capacity of 426.6MW and require an investment of R3,238.5 billion.
The projects — which are being built in response to the country’s new Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPP) initiative — will help bring South Africa one step closer to its national target of producing 3,725 MW of renewable energy by 2016.
The approval of the loans also demonstrates DBSA’s commitment and support for the cause. Group Executive for Investments at DBSA, TP Nchocho, said, “The energy sector is faced with a number of challenges. We believe this investment in the local power generation and transmission infrastructure will stimulate the development of the green economy which is a key priority in creating jobs and growing the South African economy.”
He added: “Like all other transactions, these projects were subjected to the Bank’s environmental appraisal guidelines to ascertain their impact towards the environment. After a thorough environmental analysis conducted on these projects, we are confident that investment in the solar energy programme would have less adverse impact on climate change and the environment.”
DBSA has not been the only finance institute to recognize the solar potential in South Africa. In September the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in the US approved US$250 million for OPIC’s first solar power project in South Africa.