South Africa – Canadian Solar Inc. one of the world's largest solar power companies recently announced the established of a joint venture with ET Energy, a global clean energy developer and operator. The joint venture will see the two companies provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction ("EPC") services for two solar power projects totalling 132 MW in South Africa for BioTherm Energy, an independent African power producer.
The projects, Aggeneys (46 MW) and Konkoonsies II (86 MW), are located in northwest South Africa.
The two solar power plants are expected to be grid-connected by the end of 2019 and early 2020, respectively.
Over 400,000 Canadian Solar’s 1500V high voltage modules, CS6U-P, will be installed on single-axis solar tracking systems, with a total of 34 central inverters for the two projects.
Dennis She, President and CEO of ET Energy, said, "In partnership with Canadian Solar, BioTherm Energy, and other market leaders in South Africa, we have met all the requirements of the REIPPPP. With our South African subsidiary founded in 2016, and years of experience in project operation and EPC management, ET Energy will offer professional EPC and O&M services to utility scale PV plants in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa."
"These projects are the first large-scale applications of our products in Africa's high voltage market. We hope to set more benchmarks for the renewable energy market in South Africa with high-quality products, advanced PV technology, and global expertise," added Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar.
Construction of the two solar power projects is expected to start in September 2018 on an area of 387 hectares.
The projects are part of the Round IV projects of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) which were announced in April 2015.
The construction of the solar power plants could not start immediately due to a delay in the signing of the PPAs, as South African power utility Eskom refused to award them, citing financial and grid connection issues.
The PPAs were eventually signed in April 2018 and saw a total of 27 agreements representing 2.3 GW of generation capacity getting the nod and bringing about a revival of South Africa’s solar power industry.
Further, Minister for Energy, Jeff Radebe has since announced that a new 1.8 GW bid round – BW5 of the Renewable Energy IPP Programme – will be launched this year.
As a signatory to the Paris Agreement South Africa has long been a leader in the African renewable energy industry. In November 2016, the country released the latest draft of its Integrated Resource Plan, which outlines the country’s electricity strategy to 2050. Under the plan, the country seeks to add 18 GW of PV plants from 2021 to 2050. In recent years, the successful implementation of the REIPPPP has ensured that the South African renewable energy sector has adhered to this strategy.