The City of Cape Town plans to build its first grid-connected solar plant next year as one of its interventions to end load-shedding over time.
The city has issued the tender for the engineering, procurement and construction of a 7 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in Atlantis.
The facility will be connected directly to the city's electrical network.
The city believes that the construction of similar plants across the metro could follow at a later stage.
“The power plant would start generating electricity in 2024 and be in operation for 20 years, with a foreseen annual output of 14.7 GWh,” says Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
“The city currently purchases most of its electricity from Eskom. High Eskom price escalations expected in future may not be financially sustainable for the city and its residents.
“It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the city's financial sustainability, as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom.”
Hill-Lewis says reducing the dependency on Eskom also means that the city can develop and explore more climate-friendly power sources than Eskom's coal-fired power stations.
“Apart from the city's own build generation, strides have also been made to enable independent power production and small-scale embedded generation,” he adds.
“In this financial year, R15-million has been allocated to pay for energy generated by small-scale embedded generators through the feed in tariff of 75.51c/kWh (excluding VAT) and the 25c/kWh incentive offered for small-scale embedded generators.
“I recently announced a policy shift allowing qualifying commercial and industrial electricity generators to sell energy to the city. The city also issued its first tender in a new independent power producer (IPP) programme which entails buying 200 MW from IPPs within the city's electricity supply area.”
The investment in construction of the Atlantis plant is expected to give the City of Cape Town a R47.2-million gross domestic product boost.