Mile­stone for NC so­lar plant


THE KATHU So­lar Plant has reached a ma­jor mile­stone af­ter it achieved its first syn­chro­ni­sa­tion re­cently.

The en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy group SENER and AC­CIONA In­dus­trial this month reached a crit­i­cal mile­stone in the con­struc­tion pro­ject of the 100MW Kathu So­lar Power Plant with molten salt stor­age sys­tem, when it achieved its first suc­cess­ful syn­chro­ni­sa­tion to the na­tional grid, com­ply­ing with all ex­pected pa­ram­e­ters to en­sure the sup­ply of power starts and end users can con­sume re­li­able en­ergy once the plant is op­er­a­tional.

The Kathu So­lar Park CPS Plant, which will pro­vide clean and re­li­able en­ergy to 179 000 homes, is equipped with a molten salt stor­age sys­tem that will al­low the plant to keep pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity 4.5 hours steadily in the ab­sence of so­lar ra­di­a­tion and guar­an­tee dis­patch­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion to meet on-de­mand needs.

“Once fully op­er­a­tional, the plant will pro­vide clean en­ergy to the lo­cal com­mu­nity of the John Taolo District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the North­ern Cape Prov­ince and South Africa as a whole. The use of molten salt as ther­mal en­ergy stor­age sys­tem will al­low Kathu So­lar Park to op­er­ate in a cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner, stor­ing the gen­er­ated en­ergy from the sun, pro­duc­ing and dis­patch­ing elec­tric­ity, in ab­sence of so­lar ra­di­a­tion, to sat­isfy South Africa’s peak de­mand,” Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER south­ern Africa re­gional manag­ing direc­tor, said.

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, im­pact­ing pos­i­tively on the lo­cal em­ploy­ment prospects. In ad­di­tion to this, it is es­ti­mated that the Kathu So­lar Park will save six mil­lion tons of CO2 over 20 years.

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