ENGIE has announced that a commercial operation was achieved on 30 January, 2019 for the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park in South Africa. This state of the art plant is a greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand. The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5 km², with 384,000 mirrors. Kathu is the first CSP development for ENGIE.
The solar park was awarded under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP), a competitive tender process that was launched to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy generation. Kathu Solar Park signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pursuant to the REIPPP procurement programme with the off-taker/buyer.
Isabelle Kocher, Chief Executive Officer of ENGIE said: “The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to an 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. 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.”
Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local community 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, and will foster further local economic development through several projects, such as the trust for the benefit of the communities situated in the Northern Cape and sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.
The KSP shareholders, which are led by ENGIE (48.5%), include a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, and its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation. The main contractor (EPC) is Liciastar– a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona in addition to the Kelebogile Trust.
In South Africa, ENGIE has interests in a wind farm (94 MW Aurora), 2 solar photovoltaic parks (21 MW) and 2 thermal power peaking plants (670 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa). ENGIE also owns Thermaire Investments (Pty) Ltd. and Ampair (Pty) Ltd., leaders in the HVAC installation and maintenance segment in the South African market.