SunEdison has secured ZAR1.8 billion (US$185 million) in funding for a 60MW solar project in South Africa.
The 60MW ‘Boshof Solar Park’ located in Boshof, Free State, is part of the second window of bids for South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
Boshof is the first REIPPPP project to use a South African majority-owned module manufacturer.
The ZAR1.8 billion funding (US$185 million) was provided by the US government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which is providing 75% of the ZAR2.4 billion project cost in foreign debt funding.
The project is to supply South Africa’s national grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement, signed by Eskom and the Department of Energy. The plant is scheduled to generate electricity by the last quarter of 2014.
The project will create 280 construction and operation jobs, and 1,000 indirect jobs through sub-contracts. Also funding of ZAR200 million (US$19.7 million) is to be used on community programmes.
SunEdison will retain 51% ownership of the plant, with South African companies retaining 49%.
“OPIC is pleased to be supporting a project that will provide a clean and reliable source of electricity and help stimulate economic development,” said OPIC president and CEO, Elizabeth Littlefield. “Access to a reliable source of energy is essential to addressing a wide range of development challenges from producing food to educating students and building modern infrastructure.”
Pashupathy Gopalan, SunEdison vice president and managing director for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa said Boshof Solar Park is “a landmark project which will benefit the entire South African economy as it contributes to energy security and creates green jobs throughout the value chain”.
Sundison also has 58MW of other solar projects that have started construction in South Africa and has also received funding from OPIC previously for projects in Chile.
Africa’s largest pension fund, the Government Employees Pension Fund's (GEPF) acting principal officer Joelene Moodley said GEPF is increasing its investment with SunEdison, viewing the Boshof project “as a secure investment for our members and pensioners”. GEPF has nearly doubled investment in SunEdison's South African projects, to ZAR312 million (US$30.8 million) for the Boshof Solar Park.
“We believe this a safe place for us to invest and the project is aligned with GEPF's mandate to back infrastructure projects that promote economic growth and job creation,” Moodley said.