South Africa: SunEdison closes funding on 58 MW

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Two of the mid-sized utility scale photovoltaic power plants to be developed under the South African Governments Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) are set to begin construction, having secured sufficient long term debt and equity financing.

The two projects will be located in Limpopo province in the north-east of the country and SunEdison claims they are the first two of their kind in the province. The projects are underpinned by 20 year PPAs, singed with national utility Eskom. Construction is set to begin in January 2013, with completion between January and April 2014.

Chint Solar is one of the partners in the proejcts and its CEO Chuan Lu said that energy security in the region will be aided by these and similar projects. "South Africa has higher solar irradiance than other countries which have invested heavily in solar power, such as Germany,” said Lu. "Chint Solar has been continuously keeping its commitment to developing solar energy around the world."

The Public Investment Corporation is another of SunEdison’s partners in the projects. It manages assets of over $130 billion and its chief investment offices Dan Matjila said that it is committed to creating jobs and environmental sustainability. "The project is expected to create 318 jobs during construction, and 55 jobs on an on-going basis, with 44 of those designated for historically disadvantaged individuals."

In a sign that these initial photovoltaic power plant investments, under the REIPPP, will build capacity and experience within the financial sector in Africa, other investors include Africa’s Standard Bank and Futuregrowth Asset Management.

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