US PV project developer SunEdison, Chint Solar, the Public Investment Corporation and the Kurisani Youth Development Trust have obtained US$314 million in long-term debt and equity financing for two large-scale solar projects in Limpopo province, South Africa.
The projects — which will be the first utility-scale solar projects to be implemented in the Limpopo province — will have a combined PV capacity of 58MW. The Witkop Solar Park will have a capacity of 30MW while the Soutpan Solar Park will have a capacity of 28MW.
Prior to committing to the South African projects, SunEdison performed extensive tests and models to determine the optimal design and projected output of the facilities. Once the facilities come online, the company will monitor the plants through its Renewable Operations Center (ROC) which utilises the SunEdison Environmental & Energy Data System (SEEDS) to help maximise the efficiency of the facility by tracking its actual performance against its predicted output.
“As a world leader in renewable energy, we understand our projects have a transformational impact on the lives of millions of people. We are delighted that our investments in South Africa will create employment and stimulate business investment,” said Pashupathy Gopalan, SunEdison Vice President and Managing Director for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. “The energy delivered by these projects will sustain economic growth bringing both social and fiscal benefits. We are committed to this region and will continue to build our local team moving forward.”
Construction of the plants is expected to begin in January 2013. During the construction phase, the projects will create 318 jobs. The Soutpan Solar Park is scheduled to complete and connect to the grid in January 2014 while the Witkop Solar Park is projected to come online in April 2014.
Under the terms of the financing agreement, Eskom will purchase electricity generated from the two PV facilities under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Dr. Chuan Lu, the Vice President of Chint Solar added: “South Africa has higher solar irradiance than other countries which have invested heavily in solar power, such as Germany. Chint Solar has been continuously keeping its commitment to developing solar energy around the world. We are confident that in the years to come, more solar energy projects will be announced, furthering energy security in the region.”