South Africa approves 631.5 MW of PV projects

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Contracts will be signed with a total of 28 renewable energy developers for the construction of 1.416 GW of projects announced in December under the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).

South African Energy Minister, Dipuo Peters said 18 photovoltaic projects worth 631.5 MW are among those whose contracts that will be signed on November 5. The projects represent 43.6% of the total preferred bidders in Round One.

Peters said the developers will invest US$5.3billion in developing the projects. Financial close was initially slated for last June, but was pushed back due to what Peters described as governmental bureaucracy and the need to firm the contracts.

"The delay for financial close was largely related to government approvals, among them the importance of ensuring that government seeks approval on the correct agreements with correct commitments as per the bid submission day," Peters said on Monday.

"I am pleased to announce that the department obtained the necessary approvals under the Public Finance Management Act to enter into the long term agreement with the selected IPPs under the IPP Procurement Programme," she added.

South Africa’s photovoltaic industry has welcomed the progress in completing the process of bringing the projects on board, saying it is a major step to achieving sustainable electricity generation in Africa’s biggest economy.

"The progression of these projects sends a positive message to foreign investors and potential companies looking to manufacture equipment locally," said Chris Haw, spokesperson for South Africa Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA). "The entire industry has been anticipating this announcement and we are looking forward to moving ahead with construction now."

Penalties

The South African Department of Energy has drawn up harsh penalties for any developer who defaults on their contract, including the termination of the power purchase agreement.

"All those who have reached this milestone of financial close are expected to honour the commitments made in their bids, and failure to do so will result in the application of the concomitant penalties as stated in the agreements," stated Peters.

She continued, "To avoid the necessity to act so harshly, I ask all those who have walked this onerous road to honour their commitments and bring the economic, social and environmental developments that are necessary for South Africa’s energy security and development and growth."

The photovoltaic contracts scheduled to be signed next week include:

Photovoltaic project

Capacity (MW)

SlimSun Swartland Solar Park

5

RustMo1 Solar Farm

6.76

Mulilo Renewable Energy Solar PV De Aar

9.65

Konkoonsies Solar

9.65

Aries Solar

9.65

Greefspan PV Power Plant

10

Herbert PV Power Plant

19.90

Mulilo Renewable Energy Solar PV Prieska

19.93

Soutpan Solar Park

28

Witkop Solar Park

30

Touwsrivier Project

36

De Aar Solar PV

48.25

SA Mainstream Renewable Power Droogfontein

48.25

Letsatsi Power Company

64

Lesedi Power Company

64

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