Voltalia inks 148MW solar PPA with Rio Tinto in South Africa

Voltalia expects to finish the construction of the 148MW solar plant, that will provide electricity to RBM, in 2024. Image: Rio Tinto.

Renewables company Voltalia has signed a corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA) with mining company Richard Bay Minerals (RBM), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, in South Africa.

The power will be provided from a 148MW solar plant – developed, constructed and operated by the French renewables company – in South Africa’s Limpopo province that is expected to begin generating electricity in 2024.

Under the 20-year PPA contract, the renewables company will supply up to 300GWh of annual generation capacity of solar PV to RBM’s smelting and processing facilities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sinead Kaufman, CEO at Rio Tinto Minerals, said: “As this solar energy project progresses, we will continue exploring additional renewable solutions that further reduce our emissions in South Africa and make Richards Bay Minerals a contributor to our net zero commitment.”

Moreover, the solar plant will be Voltalia’s biggest project in Africa – where it is also present in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritania and Egypt – and the first of its South-African large-scale solar and wind portfolio under development, said Sébastien Clerc, CEO at Voltalia.

Earlier this year, the French company announced it would reach its 2.6GW capacity target by the end of 2022, a year ahead of schedule.

While in Brazil it started the development of a 1.5GW cluster of solar PV projects located in Minas Gerais, its third in the country.

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