Energize Largest solar PV wheeling agreement in South Africa
- Advertisment -

Largest solar PV wheeling agreement in South Africa

- Advertisment -

SOLA, a vertically integrated renewable energy company, aiming to transform Africa through clean energy, has received approval for the largest solar PV wheeling agreement in South Africa.

A flagship renewable energy project, commissioned by Amazon, is set to demonstrate the flexibility and convenience of procuring independent power through the electricity grid. The project will see 28 GWh of solar energy wheeled via Eskom’s utility grid from a solar farm in the Northern Cape to Amazon’s facilities each year.

Chris Haw

Energy wheeling holds tremendous value in that it enables the supply of energy to urban areas from energy projects in outlying areas, such as a solar farm located in an area where the sun is most powerful and consistent. This is done through the transfer of electrical power via a utility’s distribution system. In other words, the power generated in a sunny area is distributed to an offtaker where there might be less solar resource.

Chris Haw, SOLA’s executive director, explains that although the concept of wheeling energy using Eskom’s existing infrastructure has been in place since 2008, certain administrative barriers have hindered the uptake of such services. “This project, which comprises a 10 MW solar PV farm, has also received a sought-after generation license from NERSA, a milestone that other similar projects have struggled to achieve.”

SOLA will be responsible for developing the project and will build, own, and operate the solar facility.

Haw explains that the NERSA process requires a signed power purchase agreement and fully developed project in order to obtain approval. “This creates contractual challenges because many inputs, such as the foreign exchange rate, are still fluctuating whilst the application process is underway. The high standard of development required for submission means that NERSA are not handing out licenses to projects that won’t proceed, which is a very good thing.”

The project aligns with the South African government’s intent to open the electricity grid, allowing independent generators of electricity and consumers to enter into bilateral agreements to optimise the cost and sustainability of energy, which has previously been difficult to achieve. The generation license received from NERSA is one of the first granted as part of the recent allocation made for distributed electricity generation in order to plug the short-term capacity gap.

Haw says that SOLA will deliver the energy via the transmission network though a “wheeling use-of-system” agreement. “This wheeling use-of-system agreement is the first of its kind and the largest solar PV wheeling arrangement in South Africa to date.”

Haw credits the company’s multi-disciplined skillset and 10-year track record of developing, financing, and building solar PV projects in South Africa with overcoming the many challenges that were faced.

The SOLA Group has a history of breaking down barriers to enable renewable energy projects in South Africa. The group developed some of the county’s first IPP projects, signed the first bi-directional metering agreements with municipalities, and are responsible for innovative solar-plus-storage projects like the microgrid currently powering Robben Island.

The project will be majority black South African-owned, demonstrating a pivotal dedication to transformation in South Africa’s energy sector. Mahlako a Phahla Investments, a black women-owned and operated energy and infrastructure investment holding company will own 45% of the project.

Other investors into the project include African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), through the IDEAS fund, one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity funds and one of the largest investors in the country’s renewable energy landscape.

The project’s success could mean that more companies like Amazon will look to procure cleaner independent power through the grid.

“This project is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the electricity picture in South Africa could look like,” says Haw. “Projects like this demonstrate the potential of a truly modernised electricity market where consumers can procure cleaner energy through state-owned grid lines whilst paying for their upkeep in the process,” he adds.

The project will begin construction in early 2021.

Contact SolaAfrica, Tel 010 597-3538, info@sola.africa



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles

Largest solar PV wheeling agreement in South Africa

SOLA, a vertically integrated renewable energy company, aiming to transform Africa through clean energy, has received approval for the largest solar PV wheeling agreement...

US senate agrees to preserve existing nuclear power plants

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has approved the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act of 2020 (ANIA), just two weeks after it...

Koeberg life extension welding contract awarded to local firm

John Thompson’s Utility Boilers & Environmental (B&E) business unit has been awarded a contract to perform all the welding work involved in the replacement...

Towards an international carbon-neutral energy system

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has announced the energisation of the NordLink project, a 623 km long high-voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity interconnection which, for...

“#EnergyEfficiency” will be the hashtag buzzword for 2021

by Emre Goren, Danfoss  -   Energy consumption patterns need to be addressed in earnest, in a bid to ensure that all industries de-carbonise towards...

Understanding utility capacitor bank switching transients

by John Mitchell, CP Automation  -   According to the IEEE Guide on the Surge Environment in Low-Voltage (1000 V and below), AC Power Circuits...

Pushing the boundaries on electrical products for hazardous applications

South African manufacturer Pratley aims to launch at least three unique electrical termination products in 2021 aimed specifically at the offshore, oil and gas,...

PV with storage offers cheapest path to energy transition

Information from PV-Tech  -   Scaling distributed solar and storage is the lowest-cost path to transition to a clean electricity system. According to a report by...

Path to net-zero carbon emission requires visualisation and commitment

by Eckart Zollner, EDS Systems  -   Reaching our goal of net-zero emissions requires urgent change and innovation across multiple industries. With energy production and...

Mines can turn energy liabilities into assets

Energy cost, constraints and supply interruptions risk mining companies’ productivity, output and profits. While mines are better prepared to operate on reduced power than...

Of raindrops and rooftops

by Energize staffwriter  -   As we enter the summer rainfall season, we can expect some decrease in the amount of electricity generated by rooftop PV...

On the cusp of a brighter tomorrow 

by Roger Lilley, Now Media -   Although Eskom has been subject to the destructive forces associated with State Capture in recent years, the power...

Wind power gains ground in South Africa

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has applauded the South African government for the progress made in policy over the last 12-months, beginning...

Solar power plant benefits local community health

Matla A Bokone Solar’s school health programme has kicked off and is set to benefit 4129 learners, across eleven schools, within the Sol Plaatje...

Czechia and SA explore energy sector opportunities

Information from SANEDI  -   It is widely reported that South Africa is well-suited to renewable energy development, as seen from the successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REI4P)....
- Advertisement -