SA's first big solar plant goes online early

2013-11-13 18:20
Kalkbult solar power plant near Petrusville in the Northern Cape. (Supplied, Scatech)

Kalkbult solar power plant near Petrusville in the Northern Cape. (Supplied, Scatech)

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Cape Town – The country’s first solar power plant went online this week, connecting to the grid three months ahead of schedule.

The Kalkbult solar photovoltaic (PV) plant situated in the Northern Cape will generate an amount of electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of 33 000 households.

“Our teams worked literally day and night to make this happen,” said Raymond Carlson, CEO of the Norway-based Scatec Solar at the inauguration ceremony.

“Suppliers made a huge effort to deliver their services and equipment, and local people who worked on the project were quick to learn despite the fact that many did not have previous experience in this kind of work,” he said.

More than 600 people from the local community worked at the Kalkbult construction site during peak construction periods.

The number of people employed will decline drastically to between 10 and 15 during the operations and maintenance phase.

Despite the loss of jobs Carlson says “a 20-year collaboration with local communities and the development of the social and economic initiatives in areas such as education and health” will be initiated.

The Kalkbult plant forms part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and will avoid annual greenhouse gas emissions of 115 000 tons.

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