May 28, 2010
Big scale-up plans for grid-connected Karoo microsolar plantBack
Cape Town|Engineering|SECURITY|Africa|China LongYuan Corporation|MRE|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Security|Africa|China|South Africa|Security|Confirmed Renewable-energy Feed-in Tariff|Energy|Mining|Power Producer|Renewable-energy Projects|Renewable-energy Technologies|Security|Solar-energy Project|Wind Energy|Northern Cape|Christopher Aberdien|Johnny Cullum|Power|Security|Yingli Green|Renewable-energy Technologies
© Reuse this
The 7-kW photovoltaic (PV) facility has been installed by South African independent power producer (IPP) Mulilo Renewable Energy (MRE), in conjunction with its Chinese shareholder, Yingli Green Energy, using PV panels supplied from China.
The R350 000 ‘grid-connected’ pilot project is capable of producing 10 MWh/y, which is currently being donated to the 600-strong Copperton community. Power has, in fact, been flowing since April 26, 2010, and is servicing the community hall and church.
But MRE and Yingli Green Energy, which is a significant vertically integrated PV manufacturer and IPP, have immediate intentions of expanding the facility into a 10-MW grid-connected power plant over the next 12 months.
MRE’s Christopher Aberdien reveals that an application has already been made for the inclusion of the extended facility into South Africa’s recently confirmed renewable-energy feed-in tariff, or Refit, under which PV power plants, with a capacity of more than 1 MW, are eligible for a tariff of R4,49/kWh.
Any expansion beyond the initial 10 MW, with the potential having been set at 500 MW, would be developed in phases over the next ten years, and could embrace other renewable-energy technologies, including wind.
Besides the Karoo solar park, MRE is also progressing with plans for 11 wind farms around the country, together with the China LongYuan Corporation, a subsidiary of one of the largest State-owned power companies, with a total installed capacity of 80 000 MW. In fact, MRE and its partners envisage investing R5-billion in the renewable-energy projects over the next three to four years.
For the Copperton pilot, Aberdien tells Engineering News that MRE and Yingli decided to proceed, on risk, despite the absence of regulatory certainty, particularly regarding the power purchase agreement guidelines and the identity and nature of the buying entity.
The decision was based on a belief that the South African government would start with the Refit process shortly. “We decided to play a proactive role by being the first grid-connected solar facility in the country,” Aberdien explains.
MRE, of Cape Town, is currently testing the suitability of the Chinese-made solar modules for South Africa’s harsh conditions.
“This tiny place was originally built as a mining town, but since the operations closed down, it’s been a tough struggle for the residents,” says MRE director Johnny Cullum.
“This beginning, although it benefits only a small number of people right now, represents our broad-ranging solar and wind energy initiative for the whole of South Africa.”
MRE intends to separately manage the eventual wind and solar operations within its fleet, the development of which is also eligible to benefit from the China Africa Development Fund (CADFund).
The CADFund was established in June 2007 and now has access to several billion dollars provided by the China Development Bank. This equity investment fund aims to help Chinese companies develop cooperative ventures with Africa and to enter the African market.
Therefore, MRE views the Karoo development as the “small beginnings for a gigantic, multibillion-rand South African solar and wind energy initiative”, with major implications for the Northern Cape and South Africa’s future energy security.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Updated 5 hours ago South Africa’s financial institutions have been instrumental in funding the bulk of the projects under the Department of Energy’s multibillion-rand Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), delegates heard at the Solar Indaba, in...
Updated 9 minutes ago Swedish Ambassador to South Africa Christian Meuwly will next week inaugurate the final roll-out of the new vertical shaft brick kiln (VSBK) at clay brick manufacturer Langkloof Bricks’ facility in Jeffrey’s Bay. The VSBK formed a part of economic, social and...
Updated 28 minutes ago Hot on the heels of the launch of Rustenburg’s rapid transport system’s brand name and logo last week, a negotiation framework agreement (NFA) has been formally agreed to and signed by the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) and taxi and bus operators affected by the...
Updated 29 minutes ago The runway at the George Airport, in the Western Cape, has been rehabilitated to improve safety, in terms of run-off and storm water drainage, and the structural capacity of the pavement surface. The scope of work comprised the extension of Runway 11/29, the...
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has partnered with Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) professor and founder and CEO of PanAvest Partnership Dr Douglas Boateng to publish a series of books on executive supply chain management aimed at...
The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010.
Rwanda has joined a number of East African countries seeking to import electricity from Ethiopia as its demand grows. After it became apparent several generation project it is implementing will not come on stream early enough, now plans to import 400 MW from Ethiopia...
Metrorail’s first new passenger train will arrive in November next year, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Lucky Montana. “Next year we will be able to put our hands around the infrastructure and equipment we have been talking about for so long.”
The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into what it says are “price fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components to original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs, or vehicle...