Africa Clean Energies: Sub-Saharan Africa’s First CSP Plant Operational

Solar energy has boosted salaries and brought an influx of workers into towns like Pofadder,
Solar energy has boosted salaries and brought an influx of workers into towns like Pofadder,

South Africa has become the first country in sub-Sahara Africa to have an operational concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, according to Alternative Energy Africa. The $860-million KaXu Solar One CSP plant in Pofadder was awarded in the first round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (REIPPP) program

The 100-MW KaXu plant is capable of producing enough energy to serve over 80,000 households and will prevent the emission of 300,000 tons of CO2 every year. The plant, which is one of the largest in the world, also includes a 2.5-hour thermal energy storage system to assist in meeting evening peak demand.

Mott MacDonald helped the project achieve financial close in 2012 by undertaking technical, environmental, social and permitting reviews and solar resource, energy yield and site assessments. The firm was also called upon to review the project’s financial model and implementation schedule, as well as power purchase agreement and engineering, procurement & construction and operation & maintenance contracts.

During construction, Mott MacDonald monitored the plant’s progress against the baseline construction schedule by undertaking regular site visits, signing off on drawdown requests and reviewing variation proposals.

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