South Africa has committed R18.6-million to complete a feasibility study for a solar park, in Upington, and localisation would be “vigorously pursued” in moving ahead with the project, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.
The feasibility study for the solar park, which would produce 5 000 MW of renewable energy, would be completed by the end of July.
The solar park could host proven and emerging solar technologies including photovoltaic (PV), concentrated PV plants and concentrating solar power technologies, such as power tower and parabolic trough alternatives. When fully developed, it could realise a total investment of more than $20-billion.
“We are excited that South Africa can start to seriously explore the possibility of solar technologies being deployed as part of our broader energy mix, in a way that will also de-carbonize our energy,” she said addressing the National Council of Provinces in Parliament.
“I need to state it categorically that localisation is non-negotiable,” said Peters.
NYSE-listed Fluor Corporation had been selected by the Department of Energy to undertake the feasibility study for potential solar park development in the Northern Cape.
A Solar Park Authority would also be established, and bulk infrastructure, such as water, electricity and transport solutions, would be provided for different project developers.
The country’s integrated resource plan, or IRP2010, expects wind energy to contribute 9 200 MW, or 16% of the 2030 mix, with 8 400 MW or 9.4% from solar PV. Concentrated solar power would contribute 1 200 MW and imported hydropower a further 4 759 MW.