Italian energy and waste management company TerniEnergia has signed a deal to develop two solar power plants with a total installed capacity of 148.5MWp in South Africa.

The company announced last week that it had signed two “definitive agreements” with an unnamed European utility company to construct the two PV plants. Subject to financial closing between the utility and the South African government, TerniEnergia’s local subsidiary TerniEnergiaProjects, will carry out all engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) activities as well as operations and maintenance (O&M) on the two projects. The deal includes panel and inverter supply contracts. TerniEnergia established its South African subsidiary in October 2012.

The news follows the signing of preliminary framework agreements in October last year. The two projects will be an 82.5MW project in Paleisheuwel and a 66MW Tom Burke project. The cost of construction is estimated to be around 147 million (US$197.3 million).

When the framework agreement was signed, the expected start of construction of the two plants was to have been during August 2014. According to TerniEnergia however, as the deal remains subject to closing with the South African government, the start of construction has been put back until closing takes place. As a consequence, TerniEnergia says, it has had to take immediate steps to manage human resources, calling on Italy’s Ordinary Earnings Supplement Fund for assistance.

In other news, through its majority owner, holding company Italeaf, TerniEnergia has acquired Italian renewable energy developer Free Energia. In addition to development, Free Energia is also active in trading and brokerage in the gas and electricity markets. TerniEnergia’s chairman and chief executive officer, Stefano Neri, said the deal was “a strategic objective for TerniEnergia, which is integrating downstream the energy value chain". Neri went on to say his company is looking to add involvement in energy trading to its core business activities.

TerniEnergia is set to release its financial results for the half year to the end of June on 7 August.