Siemens breaks ground on two 50MW REIPPP PV projects

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Siemens has commenced construction of two 50MW PV projects located in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

The two PV projects are part of a larger €500 million (US$635 million) investment in South Africa that also includes a wind power project. Combined, the three projects have a total renewable energy capacity of 238MW.

The 50MW De Aar solar PV farm will be built in the municipality of Emthanjeni while the 50MW Droogfontein solar PV farm will be installed near the town of Kimberley. Siemens is providing turnkey EPC services for the projects.

The projects are owned by a consortium consisting of Globeleq Generation, the majority shareholder in the consortium, Mainstream Renewable Power, Thebe Investment Corporation, engineering firms Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering and local community trusts. Old Mutual is an additional consortium member for the wind project.

The solar projects are part of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme. The consortium was awarded the projects in the first bidding round along with 16 other winning projects.

In November 2012 Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power announced it had issued a 'notice to proceed' to its construction contractors. However, construction has only just commenced in February.

“The start of construction of these three projects reinforces the dedication and leadership of the South African government to climate change and the necessity for diversifying the energy supply for the country,” said Mikael Karlsson, Chief Executive Officer for Globeleq.

“It is yet another significant step for Globeleq in building the leading African power company and clearly demonstrates our commitment to deliver clean and reliable energy to the people of South Africa.”

During construction, the projects are expected to generate hundreds of jobs. Siemens will provide turnkey solutions under an EPC contract while construction will be jointly managed by Mainstream and Globeleq.

The project is slated to complete and become operational by mid-2014. When operational, the three projects are estimated to generate 635GWh of electricity annually which is said to be enough to power 48,000 households.

Moreover, the project revenues will directly benefit the local community through socio-economic and enterprise development programmes.

Paul Kunert, Head of Business Development for Africa added: “These renewable energy projects add to Globeleq’s extensive African power generation portfolio and illustrate our ability to mobilize capital for sustainable and productive power generation investments. Globeleq looks forward to working with our consortium partners, the contractors and community to successfully build the project on time, safely and within budget.”
 

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