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Kimberley to host 86MW solar power plant

New solar power plants could help SA’s energy woes.

A lot more solar power plants are springing up across South Africa, as Eskom struggles to keep the lights on to the general public. But there is a little bit of good news, as one company that will be adding its generating capacity to the national grid soon is SunEdison.

The company has just been awarded a contract to build an 86 megawatts (MW) DC solar photovoltaic project just outside Kimberley in the Northern Cape. It got the contract on the premise of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Program.

Called the Droogfontein 2 solar power plant, it is expected to be able to produce enough power to supply electricity to around 45 000 households across South Africa, as the generated energy will be sold back into Eskom’s grid.

“Solar is a perfect solution to meet South Africa’s growing energy needs. (It) is cost competitive with fossil fuel energy, solar power plants can be brought on-line far more quickly than conventional power plants, and solar power plants are easily scalable, making them the perfect solution to help alleviate South Africa’s constrained power system,” said Enrique Collado, SunEdison General Manager for Africa,in a media statement.

He added that South Africa is one of the most ideal places in the world to have solar power plants, and the Kimberley project will also help with job creation in the local community.

“SunEdison is committed to the local community. Through enterprise development, skills creation, and local procurement, we’re making sure that local people directly benefit from our projects,” he concluded.

In March this year the KaXu Solar One (KXSO) power plant came online, also in the Northern Cape, with the capacity to deliver 100MW of power to the South African grid.

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