According to a statement released today, construction is scheduled to begin on the project, which has been developed by South African subsidiary, Scatec Solar SA, next July. It is expected to be operational by August 2013.
Located in Kalkbult, the system will be spread across 105 hectares and, when complete, will generate over 145 million kilowatt hours of energy annually. Utility company, Eskom has bought the electricity via a 20 year power purchase agreement.
The 200 million capital investment needed for the photovoltaic project will be supplied by South Africas Standard Bank. Meanwhile, the consortium providing the equity finance includes Scatec Solar as majority owner, Standard Bank, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company and Simacel.
Scatec believes the project will create "substantial value creation", with local job opportunities and local content requirements adding to the local economy. Scatec Solar and its contractors will provide the requisite training, certifications and follow-up to a predominantly unskilled work force to assure that needed skills are developed locally, added Jed Borrill, managing director of Scatec Solar SA.
Overall, 27 successful bidders were announced alongside Scatec in the first round of the South African Governments renewable energy program. Under the program, the government hopes to see 3.75 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity installed in the country. A total of 1.4 GW worth of projects across wind, solar photovoltaics, solar CSP and small hydro were successful. Of this, 18 photovoltaic projects were selected, with a total capacity of approximately 631 MW.
Dino Petrarolo, managing director of Kayema Energy Solutions was, however, not successful in the first round. He said there has been a mixed reaction from the industry, in relation to the bidding process. His bid was for a 3.4 MW project, which would have represented the first stage of a 10 MW project, to be installed near the countrys east coast. He reports that no projects smaller than five MW were successful in the first round of the bidding process. He is unclear as to why that might be the case.
Petrarolo told pv magazine that despite the setback, he remains confident and will submit the whole 10 MW project in the second round of bidding. There will be five phases for potential bidders to submit their proposals, with the second deadline closing in 2012.
The South African Energy Department reported that it received 53 bids amounting to 2.13 GW of capacity in its first round.