100MW of new solar power was added to the grid, as the Karoshoek Solar One project went live in Upington, Northern Cape. This project is the latest success of Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) which mobilises private capital and expertise to provide renewable energy to Eskom. With the current pressure on supply, this latest addition to the grid is especially welcomed.
Karoshoek is a concentrated solar project harvesting the sun’s energy through a series of concave mirrors, and using this energy to heat High Temperature Fluid, which then drives a steam turbine to convert the energy into electricity. This project also has the capacity to store energy in enormous tanks containing molten salt, and can therefore continue to supply the grid during the evening peak, after the sun has set. The project is located 30 km east of Upington, in an area that is described as one of the best places on earth to generate solar power. This is due to high levels of solar radiation as well as easy access to the national grid.
The project was originated by Mr Pancho Ndebele of Emvelo Holdings (Emvelo) and co-developed by Emvelo, and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Cobra (a Spanish company responsible for the construction of the plant) who respectively hold 15%, 20% and 20% shareholding in the project. The remaining shareholders in the project are the Community Trust, Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and , Hosken Consolidated Investment (HCI) respectively owning 15%, 20% and 10%. The plant was constructed by Dankocom, a joint venture between Spanish companies Cobra and Sener, and their local partner, Emvelo.