South Africa is continuing to move up in the global renewable energy movement. With three new solar projects having a combined capacity of 225 MW, South Africa appears they may rise to near the top of the global marketplace for utility-scale solar energy projects this year.
Plans to build these three projects in South Africa’s Northern Cape, on agricultural land, have begun. Local developer Mulilo Renewable Energy is the center point of this effort jointly regarded as the Niewehoop Solar Park. Permission is pending from the National Department of Environmental Affairs.
South Africa kicked off their Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme in 2011, signaling continued growth. This Northern Cape work is most up-to-date.
Drafts from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) assessing the results for Mulilo are completed. The report shares that the projects could be developed with either PV or CPV modules, and this choice is not made at this time. CSP, Concentrating Solar Power, needs a considerable quantity of water; thus, it is not considered practical for this area. This preparation is by the country’s Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Details of the biophysical, social, and environmental outcomes of the three installations are on this agency’s website.
These current developments quicken progress for South Africa’s increasing solar PV generation capacity. Online database Wiki-solar.org also reported in June that South Africa has now connected more than half a gigawatt of utility-scale solar, and thus climbed into the world top ten. With 15 plants generating a consolidated capacity of 503 MW. This is with more than 500MW of utility-scale (PV) solar installed already there.
South Africa is serious with the Integrated Resource Plan for South Africa. The intention is for the installation of 17,800 MW of renewable energy by 2030. Mulilo Renewable Energy’s expressed that their plan aimed responsibility for 30% of that market. They also intend to retain equity in all projects.
There is positive speculation that continued building and installation will potentially push South Africa near the top five countries with utility-scale installed solar power capacity.