The Kathu Solar Park in the Northern Cape was recently inaugurated.
It is South Africa's largest concentrated solar power greenfield project in operation.
Kathu Solar Park is a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Independent Power Producer project and was built in less than three years. Cutting-edge energy generation and storage technology is pumping 100MW into the national grid and providing 179,000 households in the Northern Cape with constant power.
Isabelle Kocher, CEO of global energy company ENGIE, the lead developer and major shareholder in Kathu Solar Park, says the company is pleased to contribute a sustainable source of clean energy to the grid, in good time.
The solar park was awarded under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s REIPPP on 15 December 2014 and comprises a mix of stakeholders aimed at meeting stringent commercial and social objectives.
The multinational group includes South African investors SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, and its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company, and the Public Investment Corporation. The main contractor (EPC) was a special purpose vehicle comprising engineering and technology group SENER, ACCIONA and the Kelebogile Trust.
Kathu Concentrated Solar Project CEO, Cedric Faye says from the outset the aim was to make a lasting social-economic impact in the area.
Investec's Andre Wepener views Kathu CSP's investment model as innovative and one that is replicable throughout Sub Saharan Africa.
Wepener explains it is always Investec's intention to be involved from the early stages to the end of a project financing cycle.
"We have seen the benefits of employing this approach with Kathu CSP, where Investec were co-developers, had representation on the board and are still shareholders. This is in addition to being a senior debt provider to the project," says Wepener.