SPS, Darling Green Country Estate & Touchpoint develop 6 MW green energy solution

11th April 2024

SPS, Darling Green Country Estate & Touchpoint develop 6 MW green energy solution

Solar energy company Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS) in partnership with housing development Darling Green Country Estate and energy solutions provider TouchPoint Energy is embarking on a ground-breaking 6 MW solar project in the town of Darling, in the Western Cape. This initiative will be the first of its kind in South Africa. The project will unfold in two phases.

Phase 1 will focus on commissioning a 1 MW solar plant to provide clean energy to the newly developed upmarket residential property, Darling Green Country Estate. This will be enabled through newly established green energy utility company Darling Green Utility. Surplus energy generated by the plant will be sold to Swartland Municipality for the first three years while the houses in the Estate are being built. The first three phases of the Estate, comprising 163 stands, have sold out and the first houses are under construction.

In phase 2, SPS will construct and connect a 5 MW solar farm to power utility Eskom’s substation in Darling.

SPS MD of Large Projects Francois van Themaat and Darling Green Country Estate founding shareholder Klaus-Gustav Göbel  shared, “We are thrilled to start with the construction of this pioneering project in South Africa. We want to thank Swartland Municipality for their forward-thinking approach to renewable energy and the assistance they provided for this project. Residents of Darling Green Country Estate can anticipate clean energy with protection from most instances of load shedding.”

Several years ago, TouchPoint Energy, a Genesis group company, took the lead in initiating the development of the solar project and mini-grid model in conjunction with Darling Green Country Estate. This involved setting up the utility company and providing key advisory support in conceptualising the project.

TouchPoint Energy MD Davin Chown commented, “We are delighted to partner with SPS, who will implement the project on behalf of the estate developer and the power project consortium. This is a great step forward in delivering clean energy to the grid in the Western Cape.’’

From Ground-Breaking to Grid Integration

Phase 1 ground-breaking is scheduled to take place within the next two months. The goal is to have the 1 MW plant operational by the end of October 2024, as per the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed on December 1, 2023, with Swartland Municipality. All the funding for this phase has been approved. Additionally, SPS will implement a battery storage solution that will mitigate the impact of load shedding at the Estate.

Phase 2, which involves the construction and connection of the 5 MW solar farm to the Eskom substation in Darling, will enable SPS to distribute power to customers connected to the Eskom grid in other parts of the country through wheeling. This entails allocating the clean energy generated by the solar plant directly to the customer, rather than connecting it behind the customer's meter. SPS aims to have this phase of the project operational by mid-2025.

Both solar plants will be built adjacent to one another.

Currently, Eskom has approved the project's capacity and the grid connection with Eskom is in the process of being finalised. SPS is particularly excited about providing green energy to the residents of Darling Green Country Estate and Swartland Municipality, thereby  boosting the local Darling economy.