RustMo 1 PV plant in South Africa begins commercial operation

The RustMo 1 solar farm – located 22km east of Rustenburg in South Africa’s North-West province – has begun commercial operation one week ahead of schedule.

Built by juwi Renewable Energies, the utility scale solar farm has an installed capacity of 7 MW, capable of generating more than 12.5 million kWh of clean solar power annually. Its module surface area is 94,650 square meters, and the plant boasts 29,000 PV modules provided by Juwi.

The RustMo 1 plant is one of four solar projects in juwi’s South African solar portfolio. The German-headquartered energy company also has three additional engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects in the pipeline, won during South Africa’s first tendering round for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).

"This truly is a great start for South Africa’s energy transition towards more sustainable and carbon-free energy production, as well as in terms of economic development," said juwi’s MD, Greg Austin. "The decentralized expansion of renewable energies such as wind and solar offers regions great economic activities and boosts the local value chain."

Brought into commercial operation ahead of schedule, the company also hopes that its two, 10.7 MW utility scale solar farms in the Northern Cape area of the country will be in operation soon, with the completion dates scheduled for December 2013.

Construction will begin on a fourth project – a 5 MW solar plant in Western Cape, South Africa – towards the end of 2013, which will sell power to state-owned utility Eskom.