R4bn raised for large solar projects in North West
Construction for two 100MW large solar projects for American titanium miner Tronox Mineral Sands will begin as they have reached financial close.
The projects were registered with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) earlier this year, after government raised the licence exemption threshold on generation facilities from 1MW to 100MW last year.large solar projects, While projects did not require a licence, they still had to be registered with the energy regulator. In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the licence cap would be done away with entirely, in a bid to get as much power on the grid as possible to address the energy crisis. Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe recently published regulatory changes to enable this for public comment. In the meantime, the projects needed to raise a total of R4 billion in funding for construction and development. SOLA Group, which is developing the project for Tronox, reached an agreement with funding partner African Rainbow Energy less than six months after the power purchase agreements were signed in mid-March. African Rainbow Energy is the largest shareholder in SOLA Group. Its partners are Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The lenders have provided R3.1 billion of debt for the projects.
WBHO will design and construct the project, while SOLA will provide engineering services. “These are the first projects of this scale in SA that are based on pure private bilateral trade. It’s also a great plus for the country that these projects are 100% South African owned, financed, constructed, operated and managed,” said Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Group. large solar projects, “Looking ahead, we hope the model of private power through bilateral agreements continues to become more widely adopted,” said Wills. “… the benefits to the end user are competition, choice and ultimately a more diverse contribution to the power system.” The projects, which will be located in the North West’s Ditsobotla Local Municipality, will supply electricity to five of Tronox’s facilities in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The power will be wheeled via Eskom’s grid. The projects comprise 387 000 solar panels mounted on trackers that change position as the sun moves across the sky. According to Melissa Zona, senior vice president of Tronox Holdings, the projects will help reduce its global carbon emissions by approximately 13%, compared to 2019 levels.
Source: This news is originally published by news24