A Concentrated Solar Power plant using new technology will be able to store power that can be released into the national electricity grid during peak demand periods. This will help with the amount of load shedding during evening hours.
The Concentrated Solar Power plant which is set to release 50 MW into South Africa’s power grid by December is situated in Bokspoort in the Northern Cape. The area boasts one of the highest solar radiation footprints in the world.
The Bokspoort Concentrated Solar Project is a Greenfield project being developed on a BOO (build, own and operate) basis.
A thermal storage capacity of 1300MWh, which is equivalent to about 9.5 hours of operation, will be achievable once the plant is fully operational.
The solar energy generated by the 658 000 m2 photovoltaic collection field will be fed directly into Eskom’s Garona substation, located next to the site, under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Chris Ehlers, business director of the Bokpoort said the power plant being built will help alleviate power outages.
“The concentrated solar power plant which is being constructed has a battery built within which is able to store the energy until the sun goes down,” Ehlers told CNBC Africa.
“During the hours of 5pm and 9pm a lot of us experience load shedding and this new battery will be releasing energy during these hours.”
Ehlers said his company uses locally manufactured components and has created jobs with about 400 going to locals in the area where the plant is being constructed.
ACWA S.Africa to offer alternative source of energy
With load shedding becoming a daily reality, it’s always great to talk about alternate sources of electricity.
“At the peak of construction we managed to create over one thousand jobs and many of the components we are using are locally manufactured,” he said.
South Africa’s power utility Eskom has been struggling to meet the country’s energy demands and over the past few months have resorted to load shedding.
Treasury recently announced that it has sold its stake in the leading mobile telecommunications company Vodacom to help cash strapped Eskom with a 23 billion rand allocation.