The 100 MW Kathu Solar Park concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, in the Northern Cape, has been synchronised to the national grid and the power station is expected to enter into full commercial operation in early 2019.
Construction of the parabolic-trough CSP plant began in May 2016, following the project’s selection, in December 2014, as a preferred bidder during Bid Window 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
A consortium led by international energy services group Engie owns the power station, which is being built in the John Taole District Municipality by an engineering, procurement and construction consortium comprising Acciona and Sener.
The Kathu Solar Park CSP plant is equipped with a four-and-a-half-hour molten-salt storage system, enabling the plant to dispatch electricity when the sun is no longer shining, including during the evening peak.
Sener Southern Africa regional MD Siyabonga Mbanjwa says the plant’s first synchronisation signals that the project has entered its final stages of construction and commissioning. He adds that the power station should enter into full commercial operation “in the next couple of months”.
Some 1 200 jobs have been created during the construction phase and Acciona project director Francisco García Bueno says the synchronisation milestone has been achieved owing to the collective efforts of both South African and Spanish companies.