Order Focus: ABB to provide system solutions for 75MW South African Kathu PV power plant

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Switzerland's ABB has received a $25 million order to provide electrical and control systems for what is said to be one of the world’s largest PV power plants with a single-axis tracking system.

The Kathu PV power plant has a 75MW capacity and is jointly owned by a South African construction firm WBHO and the Building Energy, an Italian renewable energy developer and operator.

The plant is located in the Kalahari Desert close to the town of Kathu and to Sishen, one of the largest open-pit iron ore mines in the world.

The Kathu PV power plant has been approved in the first round of South Africa’s renewable energy program,me which aims to diversify the country’s energy mix and reduce its carbon footprint.

The plant is scheduled to become operational in 2014 and it will connect to the national grid.

The facility is expected to generate about 146GWh of clean solar electricity which is enough to power the needs of over 40,000 people based on average national per capita consumption, offsetting approximately 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division said: “Renewable energy sources such as solar have a key role to play in meeting the growing demand for electricity while minimizing environmental impact. We have a strong track record in delivering turnkey power and automation solutions that are optimizing photovoltaic power plants all over the world.”

The project will be implemented with ABB’s turnkey electrical and automation solution which optimize the performance of the Kathu plant increasing the plant’s output and ensuring reliability in remote and demanding operating conditions.

ABB will provide EPC services and commissioning of the plant.

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