Sola Group, a Cape Town-based renewables developer, has reportedly received approval from the NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) to construct two 100 MW solar power plants.
The two projects will be situated in the North West province of South Africa. They will sell electricity through PPAs (power purchase agreements) to Tronox, a US-based titanium products supplier, which operates multiple smelters and mines in the region.
Sola Group Chief Executive Officer, Dom Wills, stated that the importance of this first move will pave way for large-scale private projects to obtain approvals to generate grid capacity.
The government of South Africa increased the threshold for embedded generation projects to 100 MW in August last year. It exempted developers to apply for generation licenses to enhance the entire permitting process.
The new regulations also incurred a wheeling fee which shall be paid to the state-owned entity Eskom for maintaining and upkeeping its infrastructure to transport energy.
Sola Group mentioned that the mechanism can produce energy through an IPP in one Eskom-connected region and sell to clients in other Eskom-connection regions.
The company anticipates attaining financial closure on the two projects by July. It intends to finalize construction within the next 14 months.
Wills stated that the wheeling framework enables perfect solar areas to be developed and utilized to offer power to ideal mining and industrial regions.
A perfect solar region has a flat area with little social and environmental impact, high solar resource, simple underground conditions as well as access to a robust grid node with good potential for power evacuation.
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