Canadian Solar, ET Energy to build 132 MW of solar in South Africa


Construction on the two projects – the 46 MWp Aggeneys system and the 86 MWp Konkoonsies system – is set to begin this September, while operations are scheduled for the end of 2019, and early 2020, respectively.

Chinese module manufacturer and solar energy solutions company, Canadian Solar has partnered with China-based ET Energy to deliver EPC services to the two projects, which will be located in northwest South Africa.

“Over 400,000 Canadian Solar's 1500V high voltage modules, CS6U-P, will be installed on single-axis solar tracking systems, with a total of 34 central inverters for the two solar projects,” said the companies in a statement released today.

The projects were procured under Round IV of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The Round 4 winners, of which 12 were for PV projects totaling 813 MW, were announced in April 2015. However, the signing of the PPAs was delayed, due to financial and grid connection issues with Eskom, which refused to award them.

After three years of toing and froing, the outstanding PPAs were eventually signed at the start of this April. A total of 27 agreements were signed, representing 2.3 GW of generation capacity. It is expected to be added to the grid over the next five years.

Recently, juwi Renewable Energies announced that it will construct and operate 250 MW worth of PV projects, which were also secured in Round 4.

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They comprise the 86 MW Waterloo Solar Park situated near Vryburg in the North West Province, the 78 MW Bokamoso Solar Park situated near Leeudoringstad in the North West Province, and the 86 MW Droogfontein 2 Solar Park situated near Kimberley in the Northern Cape.

“Financial close on all three REIPPPP projects was achieved during the course of July 2018, enabling the projects to now move into the construction phase. Construction will commence at Droogfontein 2 in Q3 2018, at Bokamoso in Q4 2018 and at Waterloo in Q1 2019,” said juwi in a press release announcing the news.

Since the signing of the outstanding PPAs, South Africa’s solar industry has once again begun to take off. In June, Minister for Energy, Jeff Radebe announced that a new 1.8 GW bid round – BW5 of the Renewable Energy IPP Programme – will be launched this year.

More positive news was unveiled yesterday, when new President Cyril Ramaphosa's government published a draft update to its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

The document, which is open for consultation until late October and concerns South Africa’s electricity supply, paints an optimistic picture for PV and wind – as well as gas – even if the renewable industry will be disappointed at the probable retention of renewable energy capacity limits.

According to the latest statistics, published by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa’s PV capacity reached 1,474 MW at the end of December 2016.

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