Africa|Construction|Energy|Eskom|Generators|Power|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Solar|System|Operations
Africa|Construction|Energy|Eskom|Generators|Power|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Solar|System|Operations

Pioneering 195 MW solar plant to sell clean electricity to multiple customers nationwide

SOLA Group CEO Dom Wills

A SOLA Group project built to wheel electricity for Tronox Mineral Sands

6th December 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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South African independent power producer the SOLA Group has started construction on a pioneering 195 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Free State, which will wheel and sell clean electricity across the country to multiple buyers eager to decarbonised their operations.

The R2.8-billion project has already secured an initial three multinational anchor offtakers, but SOLA has reserved a significant portion of the project’s energy for flexible, short-term power purchase agreements with a wide range of customers.

SOLA says it plans to sign up interested buyers for the uncontracted power from mid-2024, with delivery of electricity scheduled for mid-2025.

CEO Dom Wills notes that the initiative is in line with reforms under way in the South African electricity market, which are facilitating the creation of competition among electricity suppliers.

“In this sense, SOLA is pioneering the first steps toward a more flexible and efficient electricity system and makes use of the existing Eskom wheeling framework to bring choice and flexibility to South African businesses,” Wills adds.

Eskom is currently piloting a virtual wheeling platform that will, from 2024 onwards, allow for one or more generators to transact with multiple customers that have disbursed operational footprints, including ones located in municipal distribution areas.

SOLA, which has a 15-year track record in the renewable energy market, has already entered into wheeling arrangements with large private customers, including Tronox Mineral Sands, which will buy electricity from plants developed in the North West province.

Those two 100 MW projects were the first to be registered by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in 2022 following an amendment of Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act allowing for such projects to proceed without a licence and to wheel electricity through the grid.

The latest 195 MW project represents the fourth utility-scale renewable wheeling project closed by SOLA in the past 15 months, with the group’s wheeling projects under construction currently standing at 581 MW.

SOLA says that by mid-2025, its fleet will generate 1.34 terawatt-hours annually, or enough to power nearly 500 000 homes. 


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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