PNE sells 240MW solar project in South Africa to NOA Group

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The Droogfontein solar plant in South Africa.
The Khauta project is the NOA Group’s first “large-scale” solar project. Credit: Globeleq

German renewables developer Pure New Energy (PNE) has sold a 240MW solar project in South Africa to the NOA Group, an energy company based in the country.

The Khauta project, which consists of four smaller installations, proposed to be built adjacent to one another in the South African province of Free State, is currently under development. PNE expects the project to reach commercial operation by “mid-2024” and is the first solar project with an operating capacity of greater than 100MW in the NOA Group’s portfolio.

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“The Khauta project will be a pioneering project for NOA as it will be the first large-scale solar facility entering the NOA aggregator portfolio,” said Karel Cornelissen, NOA Group CEO. “As NOA, together with the support of our shareholder, African Infrastructure Investment Managers, we aspire to make a meaningful contribution towards solving the immediate energy supply deficit in South Africa”.

The growth of renewables projects in South Africa will help the country decarbonise its energy mix, which has long been reliant on coal-fired power plants. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2021, coal met 70.1% of the country’s electricity demand, and total emissions had increased by 40% between the turn of the century and 2021.

In response, the government has taken a number of steps to encourage more renewable investment, including the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which sought to support 1.8GW of new renewable capacity in its latest bidding round, in December 2023. In the same month, Norwegian developer Scatec commissioned a 540MW solar-plus-storage project in the Northern Cape province, and has made use of the opportunities of the REIPPPP in the past.

PNE, meanwhile, has a pipeline of 7.4GWp of solar capacity under development across ten countries that, if fully realised, would boast a greater capacity than its wind portfolio, which has 6.5GW of capacity in operation.

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