The Kathu Solar Park, one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects, has officially gone live with developers ENGIE announcing commercial operation.

The 100 MW Greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, the Northern Cape and South Africa as a whole.

In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years, and will foster further local economic development through several projects, such as the trust for the benefit of the communities situated in the Northern Cape and sourcing of services from local entrepreneurs.

The project covers approximately 4.5 km², with 384 000 mirrors and features parabolic trough technology that is fully equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows for 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage to provide reliable electricity in the absence of solar radiation and during peak demand.

The solar park was awarded under Round 3.5 of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP). Kathu Solar Park signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) pursuant to the REIPPP procurement programme with the off-taker/buyer.

Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE notes that the completion of Kathu shows the company’s continued commitment to an economic and environmentally friendly development in South Africa.

“Kathu with its molten salt storage design offers a clean solution to overcome the intermittency of renewable energies. We are proud to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals, and look forward to continuing the projects initiated with local communities making Kathu a genuine driver of regional economic development.”