The two plants located at the Witkop and Soutpan Solar Parks, will be located close to the city of Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo province. They will have a generating capacity of 33 megawatts (MW) and 31 MW respectively and will be among the first utility-scale PV power plants to be built in phase 1 of the South African government’s long-term renewable energy program. This program aims to reduce the impact of electricity generation on the environment and diversify the country’s energy mix by encouraging independent power producers to develop the country’s abundant renewable energy resources.
The power generated from these plants will be fed into the high-voltage transmission grid via a new high-voltage substation. Together, the plants will generate 130 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough clean energy to power around 36,000 South African homes and displace around 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. The projects are scheduled to be completed in 2013.
“We have a strong relationship with ABB and are excited to be working with them on this project" said Pashupathy Gopalan, Sun Edison Vice President and Managing Director of South East Asia and Sub Saharan Operations. "ABB brings extensive experience and expertise to the table and we are pleased to be working with them to bring renewable energy to South Africa."
Each turnkey solution will include design, engineering, installation and commissioning. ABB will also supply a range of products and technologies, including inverters, protection equipment, switchgear, dry-type transformers, controllers and the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, ABB will also construct a substation and provide the connection to the high-voltage power grid.
“Our vast experience in supplying high-efficiency PV power plants, combined with our local capabilities and presence will enable us to deliver best-in-class solutions and support the country’s vision to integrate renewable energies” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division.
ABB has a diverse portfolio of solutions for the entire solar power value chain. In addition to a comprehensive product and service offering for a range of applications, the company undertakes turnkey solutions for large-scale photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants. ABB has delivered more than 50 turnkey PV power plants worldwide.
"We are delighted to be part of these solar PV projects which will help promote the energy mix and contribute to the country's international obligations on climate change," said Carlos Pone, CEO, ABB South Africa. "With ABB's world-class technology and local presence, these projects will provide opportunities for the transfer of skills and the upliftment of local expertise."