New solar plant to provide power to 100 000 households...even after the sun sets

2018-12-04 17:16
The Karoshoek Solar One project  is seen at night. (Supplied)

The Karoshoek Solar One project is seen at night. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A new solar plant that can supply electricity even when the sun sets has been launched in the Northern Cape.

The 100MW Karoshoek Solar One project has gone live 30km east of Upington as part of the government's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

"The plant will provide power to approximately 100 000 households," Karoshoek Solar One CEO Niroshma Chetty told News24.

READ: Massive clean green electricity plant to be officially launched in Northern Cape this month

She added that, during construction, 1 500 jobs - of which 1 300 were local - had been created and that 62 people would be directly employed during the operational phase.

"Not many projects have been completed on time and within budget, as we have done today. It has been a massive effort, involving many teams of people," said Chetty.

READ: The world's set for failure on energy goals as millions of people still struggle without electricity

Unlike a traditional solar photovoltaic (PV) system, the Karoshoek facility is based on concentrated solar plant (CSP) technology.

Load shedding

The installation will plug into the national grid at a time when Eskom is once again engaging in load shedding as a result of a lack of sufficient coal at traditional power stations.

Karoshoek Solar One project

Karoshoek Solar One project. (Supplied)

CSPs do not require coal to produce electricity and do not produce any of the waste associated with either coal or nuclear power plants.

"We have shown once again that solar energy has a huge role to play in South Africa. With renewable energy we can combine the provision of power with positive social and environmental outcomes. Solar technology allows us to produce energy without releasing carbon or other harmful emissions. It is a crucial part of our energy mix," said Chetty.

Several parabolic mirrors focus the sun's rays onto a collector which holds a fluid. This fluid, which often consists of salt among other materials, will use the heat to turn a turbine, much like in a coal-powered plant.

The thermal fluid retains heat for several hours, enabling the turbine to generate electricity during the day and at night.

Karoshoek Solar One project

Karoshoek Solar One project. (Supplied)

A solar PV system needs additional battery storage to deliver power after the sun sets.

"CSP compliments other renewables - such as wind and PV - because of its ability to store energy, making it a dispatchable power plant that can be operated as a peaking power plant or baseload power plant," Chetty explained.

"CSP is different from PV, as the power generated by a CSP plant can be stored and supplied after dark. This plant can store energy for five hours. This enables the plant to continue to supply electricity to the grid after sunset."

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), the levelised cost of electricity from CSPs is higher than PV or wind systems, though the agency was careful to point out that in high sunlight areas, the costs could be significantly less.

Data from Stellenbosch University's Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies shows that the Northern Cape province is ideal for solar power installations.

Northern Cape ideal

The province has Direct Normal Solar Irradiation of between 3 000kWh/m2 and 3 200kWh/m2, the highest in the country.

According to Irena data, SA has seen significant installation of solar power since 2013. There has been a net addition of 2 173MW of solar PV and, since 2014, a net addition of about 300MW in CSP.

Chetty said that the Karoshoek Solar One project was the fifth CSP in the province, proving how ideal it was for the conditions.

SA has a cumulative total of 2 486MW of solar power generation, of which 300MW is CSP.

Commercial funding for the Karoshoek Solar One project came from ABSA, DBSA, IDC, Investec, Nedbank, Standard Bank, PIC and Vantage Capital.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    eskom  |  load shedding  |  renewable energy
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.