Globeleq acquires 53 MW solar portfolio in South Africa


Independent power producer Globeleq has acquired a portfolio of renewable energy assets in South Africa, including the 11 MW Aries solar project, the 11 MW Konkoonsies PV plant, the 31 MW Soutpan solar array, and the 27 MW Klipheuwel wind farm. The company also expects to reach financial close on another solar project, the 66 MW Boshof plant, in the coming weeks.

The projects began commercial operations in 2014 and are subject to 20-year power purchase agreements with South African utility Eskom. CIB Standard Bank (South Africa) provided financing for the acquisitions.

“The addition of these renewable plants further establishes Globeleq’s position as a power sector leader in Africa by expanding our renewable energy footprint across the continent,” said Paul Hanrahan, Globeleq’s CEO. “This acquisition will deliver significant value for all stakeholders, including the local community.”

Globeleq owns and operates around 238 MW of wind and solar PV in South Africa. The company is active throughout sub-Saharan Africa and manages about 1,300 MW of generating capacity, with another 2,000 MW in development. Its current portfolio includes 150 MW of solar and 165 MW of wind, as well as 162 MW of fuel oil and 846 MW of light fuel oil assets.

The IPP is 70% owned by Commonwealth Development Corp. (CDC) of the U.K. Norfund, the development fund of Norway, holds the remaining 30% stake in the company.

Sector shake-up

In a State of the Nation address in February, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined a series of reforms for state-owned Eskom that could significantly reshape the country's power sector. Consultants at Frost & Sullivan have said that splitting the utility into three separate entities could drive more renewable energy investment in South Africa, although it may fall short of remedying the utility's financial troubles.

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“To bring credibility to the turnaround and position South Africa’s power sector for the future, we shall immediately embark on a process of establishing three separate entities — generation, transmission and distribution — under Eskom Holdings,” the president said. “This will ensure that we isolate cost and give responsibility to each appropriate entity.”

The president said that the utility has been a significant roadblock to deploying renewable energy assets at scale. Last year, just as the country was set to tender 1.8 GW under its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), Eskom’s troubles brought the plan to a halt.

In May, South African module manufacturer ARTsolar issued a call for anti-dumping duties on imported modules. “We are doing this to protect the local value chain, as cheap imports are crippling the local industry and has seen many manufacturers and installers close down,” Viren Gosai, the general manager of ARTsolar, told pv magazine.

The company specifically referred to the EU’s minimum import tariff scheme. However, European industry associations have claimed that the tariffs failed to protect solar jobs in Europe and slowed down solar deployment.

In May, Ramaphosa announced the signing into law of the Carbon Tax Act No 15 of 2019, which will tax greenhouse gas emissions and could to help to reinvigorate the nation’s solar energy industry.


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