ENGIE starts operations at 100MW Kathu solar park in South Africa

France-based electric utility company ENGIE announced that it has started commercial operations at the 100MW Kathu solar park in South Africa.

Kathu solar park is a greenfield concentrated solar power (CSP) project built with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system. This allows the project to store 4.5 hours of thermal energy to provide reliable electricity during peak demand and in the absence of solar radiation

Located on an approximately 4.5 km² site, the Kathu Solar Park features 384,000 mirrors and is the first CSP project for ENGIE.

ENGIE has secured the solar park under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP). REIPPP is a competitive tender process launched to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy generation in South Africa.

Kathu solar park has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the off-taker/buyer, in accordance with the REIPPP procurement program.

ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher said: “The completion of Kathu shows our continued commitment to an economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa. Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies.

“We are proud to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”

The project is expected to provide 179,000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa, with clean and reliable energy.

Additionally, Kathu Solar Park it is estimated to save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years, and is expected to further increase local economic development through several projects.

For this project Liciastar, a Spanish consortium of SENER and Acciona in addition to the Kelebogile Trust, is serving the EPC as main contractor.

Led by ENGIE with 48.5% stake, the project’s shareholders include a group of South African investors comprising 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.