A solar power plant spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power International refinanced debt at better terms than when the project started more than seven years ago, allowing for cheaper electricity to be fed into the grid.
The R5 billion transaction is South Africa’s biggest infrastructure refinancing transaction yet, said the Investec Group – the specialist bank that was lead arranger on the deal – on Tuesday.
The ACWA Power Solafrica Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power plant in the Northern Cape generates 50 megawatts.
It was commissioned in the earliest rounds of South Africa’s bid programme to source renewable energy and is the first of those to be refinanced.
Last year government and the state-owned Eskom began appealing to independent power producers to lower their costs as part of an effort to save the indebted utility.
“We hope that this will encourage other independent power producers with projects from the first few bid rounds to also participate and jointly contribute to a reduction in the wholesale price of electricity,” said Bernard Magoro, head of South Africa’s independent power producers office that conducts the auctions. – Bloomberg