South African province approves 800 MW solar project


The Gauteng provincial government in South Africa is moving ahead with a new 800 MW solar project.

According to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, six independent power producers have been appointed to develop the installation. The board of Sibanye-Stillwater, a South African mining and metals processing group, has approved the land leases.

State-owned utility City Power is implementing the initiative, which is expected to add at least 100 MW to the grid from April, with a further 300 MW expansion anticipated in the next financial year.

“This investment combined with smart metres can generate the megawatts needed to cushion our residents against two stages of load shedding, a critical step toward energy stability for the nation’s economic hub,” said Lesufi.

The news comes as South Africa continues to grapple with grid constraints, which are causing load-shedding across the country.

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Speaking at a State of the Province Address on Feb. 19, Lesufi said that the “protracted electricity crisis has caused significant hardship for people in our province and has had a detrimental effect on the growth of Gauteng’s economy.”

He added that power shortages are having a negative impact on the availability of health care services, food and water.

The Gauteng provincial government, together with state-owned utility Eskom and City Power, plans to deliver 429 transformers to communities to ease load-shedding. To date, 333 have already been installed and switched on, which the provincial government says has helped around 32,000 households.

“Although energy is not a competency of the province, load shedding’s crippling effect on the functionality of the state and its impact on broader society compelled us to intervene,” said Lesufi.

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