R1.5bn solar plant to boost energy production

2014-05-16 08:39

A new R1.5bn solar power plant near Kimberley, Northern Cape, will contribute immensely to meeting the country’s rising energy demands, the Department of Science and Technology has said.

“Renewable energy holds the promise to improve energy security and access, and to solve other socioeconomic challenges that SA is facing,” Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Michael Masutha said yesterday in a statement.

The plant – which is in the Sol Plaatje Municipality – was one of the first large solar farms in SA built by an independent power producer.

It was built on a 100-hectare site on which more than 165 000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels would be in operation.

The project would supply the Eskom 132kV gridline and generate 85 458MW per year.

This would be sufficient electricity to supply approximately 19 000 average homes each year.

Masutha said the department was focused on setting up systems which would support the sustainable solar energy industry.

“This is done through supporting research, development and innovation in the energy sector, informing and influencing energy policy decisions, and supporting human capital development.”

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