The planned solar park in Upington would create a significant number of construction and manufacturing jobs, which would not only benefit the Northern Cape, but also extend beyond the province, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Monday.
In response to a Parliamentary question from Cope Member of Parliament Kenneth Sinclair regarding the potential economic value of the project, Peters said the 5 GW solar park could create almost 12 300 average yearly direct construction jobs over a nine-year construction period. It could also create 3 010 operations and maintenance jobs by the time its final solar plant comes on stream.
“Since these are related to the actual plants, they would be of direct benefit to the people of the Northern Cape,” she stated.
Further, the creation of a solar park would also generate a significant number of manufacturing jobs, which would extend beyond the province.
“For instance, mirrors, steel and aluminium structures, photovoltaic modules, reflector assemblies, and a number of other components would be manufactured in South Africa. There would also be significant additional demand for steel, glass and other commodities already produced in South Africa,” Peters said.
Meanwhile, she reported that the feasibility study for the R150-billion solar park would be completed early in 2013.
Should the study prove the initiative to be viable, the first solar power from the park would be available by 2016/17.