Total and SunPower team on 86MW PV power plant in South Africa

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Total S.A. has become a preferred bidder in the third phase of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to build an 86MWp PV power plant using SunPower’s ‘Oasis Power Blocks’ integrated system.

SunPower told PV Tech that it had two project under construction from the first phase of the South African program.

These included the 11MW ‘Greefspan PV Power Plant’ and the 22MW ‘Herbert PV Power Plant,’ both located near Douglas in the Northern Cape Province.

Tenesol, a subsidiary of SunPower after the buyout of the company by Total was initially said to be supplying modules for the Herbert project from its module assembly plant in South Africa. 

According to Total, the project (Mulilo Prieska PV) is located in Prieska,  in the province of the Northern Cape. Financial close of the estimated US$200 million project is expected by mid-2014. Construction is expected to start in the second semester of 2014, with completion due in mid-2015.

Total said that the project would be financed 80% through non-recourse project debt from unidentified South African banks. The remaining 20% would be funded by Total, Calulo Renewable Energy, Mulilo Renewable Energy, the IDC, Futuregrowth Asset Management (Pty) Ltd and a Local Community Trust, based on their respective ownership interests.

The project has been secured under a co-development agreement with South African Mulilo Renewable Energy. Total said it would own 27% of the project, along with five partners: Calulo Renewable Energy with 25%, Mulilo Renewable Energy with 18%, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with 15%, Futuregrowth Asset Management (Pty) Ltd with 10% and a Local Community Trust will own 5% of the project.

Philippe Boisseau, president of marketing and services and new energies, and a member of the executive committee of Total, said: “Total has been present in South Africa for almost 50 years and remains very committed to the country. As a world leader in the solar industry, we are pleased to assist South Africa in the diversification of its energy mix, with the development of increased solar capacity in the country, along other energy sources. We believe there is a huge potential in the solar market.”

“This is another great example where Total’s international footprint has provided opportunities to SunPower, following the recent announcement to build the world’s largest solar merchant plant in Chile,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and chief executive. “SunPower's successful track record of building solar power plants around the world, coupled with Total’s historic presence in South Africa, will positively impact this region, including job creation”.

As with other PV power plants under the program, generated electricity is to be sold to ESKOM, under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

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