Norwegian firm Scatec Solar has been awarded three projects totalling 258MW under the delayed fourth round of South Africa’s national renewable energy programme.
The company announced the projects this morning in a move that appears to pre-empt the long-awaited official statement from the South African government on the successful bidders under round four of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
This had been expected in late November, but has been held up amid rumours of problems faced by South Africa’s state utility, Eskom, the sole off-taker in REIPPPP power purchase agreements. Recent attempts by PV Tech to establish from the South African government its revised timetable for announcing round-four winners have proved fruitless.
At the time of publication of this article, no government statement on the programme had been made and Department of Energy spokespeople were unavailable for comment on progress in publishing the list of successful round-four bidders.
But speaking to PV Tech, Scatec Solar’s CEO Raymond Carlsen said the company had received letters on Friday notifying it that three of its proposed round-four projects had been successful. He said he assumed other bidders would have been notified at the same time.
Scatec Solar’s latest projects will be located in Upington in the Northern Cape region, and project financing is already arranged as part of the bid preparations, the company said. Financial close is expected later in 2015, while construction is expected to begin in early 2017 to align with the timeline of required grid construction activities in the area.
Scatec Solar said it would build, own and operate the solar power plants with a 42% shareholding. Norfund, Norway's international development fund and Scatec’s partner in a number of its other projects, will hold 18% of the equity, while the balance will be held by a trust channelling dividends from the projects to economic development initiatives in the local communities.
"The three solar power plants will be built on directly adjacent sites, and will combined represent one of the largest solar parks ever realised,” said Carlsen.
Scatec Solar already has 190MW of operational PV capacity in South Africa across three projects.