The Kathu Solar Park project in South Africa is owned by a GDF Suez consortium which includes South African partners and consists of a 100 MW greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology. It is also equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage.
The project is located in the Northern Cape Province, 600 kilometres south-west of Pretoria. GDF Suez maintains a 49 percent stake in the project while other investors include the SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier and the Public Investment Corporation. Preferred bidder status was awarded under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme led by the DOE. Each preferred bidder will be invited to enter into a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eskom, the South African electricity public utility.
“Kathu Solar Park strengthens our contribution to South Africa’s objective of establishing sustainable energy generation and promoting local economic development” said Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO of GDF Suez. “The project is in line with our Group’s effort to become a leader in the transition to clean energy.”
Previously, the company was awarded the West Coast 1 wind energy project under the second REIPPP round. Construction of the 94 MW wind farm began in June 2013 and recently produced its first electricity in test phase, ahead of schedule. Twelve of its 47 wind turbines have been erected to date and commercial operation is expected to start in mid-2015.
The company now has interests in four assets currently under construction with a gross capacity of 2,485 MW. These consist of the 94 MW West Coast 1 wind farm, the 670 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa peaking plants in South Africa; and the Safi thermal project in Morocco.
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