juwi Renewable Energies has started building the 7MW Rustmo 1 Solar Farm located in the mining town of Rustenburg, South Africa.
The 7MW facility represents one of 18 winning projects under the first bidding round of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme.
The Rustmo 1 Solar Farm is one of four EPC projects juwi won during the first tendering round under the REIPPP programme. In total, the four project will have a combined capacity of 35MW.
As the EPC contractor for the project, juwi will design and install the PV system on a 94,650 square metre site.
When complete, the solar farm will produce more than 12.5 million kWh of electricity every year. The system is expected to connect to the local Eskom grid in mid-October 2013 while electricity will be fed into the grid a month later.
Momentous Operations Services will maintain and operate the solar farm while juwi has been subcontracted to provide operations and maintenance services to the plant for the first five years from its control room situated in Wörrstadt, Germany. The control centre efficiently monitors every juwi renewable energy power plant in real time 24 hours a day.
The project has been especially welcomed by the local community in Rustenburg as it is expected to help boost the local economy and is said to be “the largest investment in this area for many years”.
During the engineering and construction phase, the project will hire 200 workers as well as create a number of permanent operational jobs for the plant. Furthermore, the project is expected to utilise more than 40% locally produced components.
The project is owned by Momentous Technologies, Momentous Solar Farm, Momentous Foundation and Evolution One Fund, while a 17% stake is owned by a local community trust. The trust is mandated to use the dividends from the project for “community upliftment programmes” for all areas within a radius of 50km from the plant.
The project will help bring South Africa closer to its target to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2022.
Greg Austin, juwi Renewable Energies’ Head of Operations, states: “This is truly a great start for South Africa's energy transition towards 100% renewable energy power production as well as in terms of local economic development. The decentralized expansion of renewable energies offers regions great economic activities and increases the local value chain.”