Institutional investment from a state pension fund will help finance a 44MWp concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plant being built in South Africa by Soitec after a refinancing scheme for the project was approved by the South African Department of Energy.

The South African Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) will become a long-term investor in the 44MWp Touwsrivier solar CPV project. Half of the plant’s capacity has already come online, which Soitec claims demonstrates the ability of the project to meet contractual specifications for performance and validates power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the entirety of the project.

Soitec, headquartered in France, announced the news yesterday. The company noted that it would remain the only foreign stakeholder in the project, retaining a minority shareholding.

The new arrangement with GEPF, which will see the pension fund utlimately hold 40% equity in the plant, required the final approval of the government’s energy department. The department granted preliminary approval to change the financing structure of the Touwsrivier project in March.

Soitec signed an agreement with South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) which represents the interests of GEPF through an equity financing structure. PIC is owned by the South African government and manages public assets through the country’s minister of finance.