The project is located in the town of Kathu in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, 600 km southwest of Pretoria.
The Kathu CSP Plant, which will provide energy to approximately 179,000 homes, is equipped with a molten salt storage system that will allow the plant to keep producing electricity for 4.5 hours even in the absence of solar radiation and guarantee dispatchable energy generation to meet on demand requests. Likewise, the use of SENERtrough®-2 collectors, a parabolic trough technology designed and patented by SENER, will aim at improving efficiency of the plant.
Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER Southern Africa Regional Managing Director, said, “With the successful first synchronization at Kathu Solar Park we are heading into the final stages of the construction and commissioning phase of the project that will ultimately reach the COD (commercial operation date) for the plant in the next couple of months. Once fully operational, the plant will provide clean energy to the local community of the John Taole District Municipality, the Northern Cape Province and South Africa as a whole.”
Francisco García Bueno, Project Director at ACCIONA Industrial, added, “For the EPC consortium, plant synchronization is one of the most important final milestones that will enable us to complete a process that began in 2016, and we achieved it with success and the greatest guarantees. The participation of local companies in the construction of Kathu, as well as Spanish companies, has been key to reaching this milestone.”
Construction on the unit began in May 2016, and it is expected to be completed in early 2019. During this phase, around 1,200 jobs are being created. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years, and it will foster more local economic development through several projects.