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Kathu Solar Plant is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the country. Picture: SUPPLIED/KATHU SOLAR PLANT
Kathu Solar Plant is the largest concentrated solar power plant in the country. Picture: SUPPLIED/KATHU SOLAR PLANT

The original article appears on Investec's Focus.

As SA struggles with power supply, the country has received a 100MW injection into the electricity grid – through a new concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Kathu, Northern Cape.

“Kathu Solar Plant is unique because it has storage capacity. We can store heat and then generate,” said Cedric Faye, CEO of Kathu Solar Plant.

It is the largest concentrated solar power plant in SA. The project will supply an estimated 179,000 households with renewable energy and save 6m tonnes of carbon emissions over a 20-year period.

Harnessing power from the sun

The independent power producer boasts cutting-edge technology and is equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows thermal energy storage, which limits the intermittent nature of solar energy. 

The plant uses 384,000 large mirrors to reflect sunlight and concentrate the energy from the sun to drive traditional steam turbines that create electricity.  

The plant occupies 600ha of total facility area, with the equivalent of 104 rugby fields as total reflective area.  

A power partnership

Construction over three years was supported by a multitude of stakeholders, including global energy giant Engie and Investec Bank.

Fazel Moosa, consultant, power and infrastructure finance consultant at Investec. Picture: SUPPLIED
Fazel Moosa, consultant, power and infrastructure finance consultant at Investec. Picture: SUPPLIED

“We partnered with Engie as co-developers originally, and later participated in both the equity and debt financing of the project. Investec’s infrastructure financing experience assisted in ensuring the project’s bankability at all stages of project establishment,” said Fazel Moosa, consultant, power and infrastructure finance consultant at Investec.

“Funding renewable energy is a key part of our strategy as the power and infrastructure finance team. As a bank, we are focusing on trying to encourage a low carbon emission economy in SA and this project is certainly part of that as a renewable power source,” said Andre Wepener, head of power and infrastructure finance at Investec. 

Visit the Investec website for more information on power and infrastructure finance.

This article was first published on Focus, Investec's content hub.

This article was paid for by Investec.