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Teraco to build 120 MW solar plant after securing grid capacity allocation

21st February 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Data centre infrastructure and services company Teraco will start construction of a 120 MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Free State after securing its first grid capacity allocation from State-owned Eskom.

The grid capacity allocation enables it to connect the planned 120 MW solar facility to the national electrical grid. The power generated will be wheeled across Eskom and municipal power networks to Teraco’s facilities across South Africa.

Teraco has committed to power its data centres with 50% renewable energy by 2027 and 100% renewable energy by 2035.

“This allocation is a significant step towards meeting our renewable energy ambitions and those of our clients. It is only the first phase of our longer-term renewable energy commitment. We have been on a long journey over the past few years to obtain these approvals, and our aim now is to execute quickly on the opportunity,” says Teraco CEO Jan Hnizdo.

“We have various energy challenges in South Africa, and this presents an incredible opportunity to meet our near-term renewable energy goals while adding additional power capacity to a generation-constrained grid. Teraco will not only own its data centre facilities, but also a significant renewable energy source with which to power them, thereby creating a sustainable energy path to support growth,” he adds.

This initiative aligns with Teraco’s long-term vision of powering digital transformation across Africa. South Africa’s solar resource is a source of competitive advantage for data centres relative to other locations, he highlights.

When fully operational, the 120 MW solar PV plant is expected to produce more than 338 000 MWh/y.

“This PV project represents a significant component of our plan to achieve our 100% clean energy goal,” says Teraco head of sustainability Bryce Allan.

“In addition to this project, over the past two years, Teraco has deployed approximately 6 MW of roof-top solar integrated into its facilities, and this amount is to be increased to 10 MW as new facilities become operational.”

Teraco's facilities are built to maximise their solar yield potential as part of construction design, he adds.

Teraco has partnered with renewable energy company JUWI Renewable Energies South Africa to develop the 120 MW solar PV plant, with JUWI appointed to design and manage the procurement, construction and commissioning.

Further, in a first for Teraco, a green loan has been raised to finance the building of the plant. Selecting the right partners has been crucial to delivering on Teraco’s renewable energy strategy and vision, Allan says.

Wheeling renewable energy across electrical grids enables power to be moved from a renewable energy producer in outlying areas via existing transmission and distribution systems to end-users located in urban areas.

It also enables the deployment of renewable energy projects to areas with high energy yield to maximise renewable energy generation potential, he says.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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