Solar Thermal Energy Funding for South Africa

A NEW solar thermal electricity facility in South Africa’s Northern Cape region is getting a ZAR 455 million ($37 million) from the International Financial Corporation (IFC).

The 100-megawatt Xina Solar One facility being developed by Abengoa is expected to produce clean energy for more than 95,000 households, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. It will be located next to Abengoa’s 100-megawatt Kaxu Solar One, the first solar thermal electricity power plant in commercial operation in South Africa.

Those projects, along with the 50-megawatt Khi Solar One facility are set to help South Africa meet its growing energy demands and boost access to sustainable, reliable electricity.

IFC Country Manager Saleem Karimjee said, “Solving the power issue is an urgent priority in South Africa, and establishing the country as a leader in renewable energy production is an important long-term goal. This project draws on South Africa’s abundant sunshine to address both these issues.”

Xina Solar One is a greenfield solar thermal electricity power plant with a parabolic-trough design and a five-hour thermal energy storage system using molten salts. It will supply clean electricity to the South African power utility Eskom under a 20-year power purchase agreement signed in late 2014.

Bertrand de la Borde, IFC Head of Infrastructure in Africa, said: “Inspired by the success of South Africa's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, IFC and its partners in the World Bank Group recently launched the Scaling Solar program which seeks to create a competitive solar power market in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The Scaling Solar program offers African governments a “one stop shop” comprehensive solution to launch privately-funded solar projects that can supply electricity to national power grids within two years. As it is implemented across multiple countries, Scaling Solar will allow smaller African countries to enjoy the purchasing power of bigger and more developed economies in this sector. 

Monday 16th March 2015

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