Africa Updates: Kathu CSP Solar Plant Now Live

French energy and services group, ENGIE announced that it has achieved commercial operation of a 100 MW CSP solar plant in the Northern Cape – one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects.

The solar plant covers 4.5 square kilometers, with 384,000 mirrors, uses patented parabolic trough technology, with curved solar panels tracking the sun’s movement, storing the energy in a molten salt storage system that will allow the plant to keep producing electricity for upto 4.5 hours steadily in absence of solar radiation.

“The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa. Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies,” said Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE.

“We are proud to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”

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As earlier reported in November 2018, The Kathu Solar Park had achieved its first synchronization with the National grid. The massive park is situated outside the Northern Cape Town of South Africa. South Africa is one of the upcoming markets of Energy storage in Africa, according to WoodMac report, and Kathu which is a massive 4.5km2 concentrated solar power plant will have the ability to pump electricity into the national grid even when the sun isn’t out.

The park is expected to operate for 30 years, with a 100MW capacity delivering a projected 390GWh per year – enough to run almost 180,000 households. The Kathu project secured Rand 12 billion (approx $876 Million) in financing when construction began in May 2016. Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to the local communities of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years.

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