The NDB signed the loan agreement at its fourth annual meeting in Cape Town. The Shanghai-headquartered multilateral development lender will use its project finance facility to back Eskom’s planned grid upgrades.
“Modern grid-connection infrastructure will be used for renewable energy projects and augmentation of the Eskom transmission network to the identified areas,” the NDB explained in an online statement. “The project will also help increase electricity supply to the targeted areas for sustainable development. The project will enhance the country’s capacity for renewable energy while achieving sustainable growth.”
Last November, Eskom launched a battery-backed 32 kW/90 kWh solar microgrid pilot in Ficksburg, South Africa. And earlier this year, the long-troubled state utility completed a 60 kW floating PV array in the country’s Western Cape province, in cooperation with France’s Ciel & Terre.
The NDB was set up by Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa to provide funding for infrastructure development in developing countries. Last July, it revealed plans to lend $300 million without sovereign guarantee to the Development Bank of Southern Africa to develop unspecified projects in the country’s energy sector that will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve the national energy mix. South Africa’s total installed PV capacity hit roughly 2.2 GW at the end of 2017, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).