On January 30, 2019, ENGIE announced the commercialization of its 100MW Kathu solar park inSouth Africa.
The project uses trough solar thermal power technology with a 4.5-hour molten salt energy storage system (45,000 tons of molten salt) that allows the plant to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and peak demand. The Kathu project covers an area of nearly 4.5 km2 and is equipped with 384,000 mirrors. The project is also the first solar thermal power project developed by ENGIE.
The solar park is the 3.5th round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Plan (REIPPP), a competitive bidding process initiated to promote private sector investment in renewable energy generation. According to the REIPPP procurement plan, the Kathu project signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the purchaser/buyer.
With the launch of the Kathu solar trough project, there are currently five commercial solar thermal power stations inSouth Africawith a total installed capacity of 400 MW. The previously completed power stations include the 100MW tank Kaxu SolarOne, the 50MW tower Khi Solar One, the 50MW tank Bokpoort, and the 100MW tank Xina SolarOne CSP project.
KSP shareholders led by ENGIE (48.5%) include a group consisting of SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund and its co-investors FMO, Dutch Development Bank and DEG, German Investment Development Corporation and Public Investment Corporation South African investor. The main contractor (EPC) of the power station is Liciastar (SENER and Acciona Consortium ofSpain) and the Kelebogile Trust.
According to reports, the Kathu trough power station will provide clean and reliable energy for the Northern Cape Province and 179,000 homes throughoutSouth Africa. In addition, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Project will reduce CO2 emissions by 6 million tons within 20 years and will promote the further development of the local economy through several projects.