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Media Advisory 2015

File: Opening of major new solar energy plant near Pofadder

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MEDIA RELEASE 02 March 2015

A new 100 Megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) station was opened near Pofadder in the Northern Cape today by the Minister of Economic Development. It is the first CSP plant to be opened in South Africa and the largest CSP plant in the southern hemisphere.

The plant, named KaXu Solar One, is now generating energy equivalent to the household consumption of 80 000 families, or 400 000 energy users. The project is a joint venture between a large Spanish investor, Abengoa and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Officially opening the R8 billion plant today, Minister Patel said that it is one of 33 renewable energy plants that have opened over the past 15 months, which together with planned plant openings during March 2015 would bring 1865 megawatts of installed energy to the grid by the end of the month.

He said that the installed energy capacity from the KaXu solar plant was;

  • equivalent to the annual electricity household consumption of Mosselbay, Outshoorn, Knysna and Swellendam combined or
  • more than the installed energy capacity of either Lesotho or Swaziland.

Minister Patel noted that the total installed energy capacity of the renewable energy plants that have been completed over the past 15 months was about 87% of the capacity of the Koeberg Nuclear Power plant.

“Of course the nuclear plant can generate electricity 24 hours a day and is not dependent on sun, wind or river yield, but nonetheless it shows the scale of our renewable programme,” he said.

“The plant opened today uses the concentrated solar power technology, which has been designed to permit two-and-a-half hours of storage of energy that can be fed into the grid after sunset, to enable use of energy during peak consumption periods,” he said.

Abengoa, a Spanish renewable energy corporation is the lead investor in the plant, with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as an equity partner together with a community trust for local residents.

“In 2010, before we had any solar power plants, government mandated the IDC to focus funding in the development of the green economy, which we identified as a jobs driver in the New Growth Path. The IDC actively pursued this mandate and today is involved in 22 renewable energy projects. It has contributed R13,5 billion in investment in green energy,” Minister Patel said.

The green energy programme is part of the National Infrastructure Plan that is being coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC), a body chaired by President Zuma and composed of Cabinet Members, Premiers and Mayors of metros and local government leaders.

“We now have the largest green energy programme on the African continent and in fact is one of the largest programmes of all developing countries. It shows that we take our climate commitments seriously but we must also leverage more green industrialization opportunities for a technology that will become increasingly important in economies globally in the decades ahead. We must position South Africa as a leader and innovator, not simply a consumer,” he said.

He called for greater levels of localisation in the manufacture of components used in the green energy programme.

“One of the key lessons from the current programme is that we need to reduce cost of the renewable energy that we buy from the producers, increase localisation of component manufacturing and use more local labour across the full set of skills required. We have not always got all of this right in the first phase of the programme but we now need to focus more on these areas, a view that the Minister of Energy shares. Investors can see we are serious about renewable energy and they can in turn make longer-term decisions that will enhance the economic development benefit of the renewable energy programme for South Africa,” he said.

Note to editors:

1. Tomorrow (Tuesday 3 Marc h 2015), government will join investors to open a hydro-electric facility on the Orange River near Kakamas. It will bring 10 megawatts of installed energy capacity onto the grid.

2. The renewable energy programme is contained in Strategic Integrated Project 8 of the National Infrastructure Plan of the PICC and the SIP is chaired by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat Pettersson, who coordinates the green energy programme.

3. The IDC is the continent’s largest national development finance institution. It makes industrial funding available to enterprises that can drive growth, employment creation and overall development.

Issued by Siphokazi Shoba, Ministry of Economic Development, Phone +27823362688.

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Scam Alert
All Service Providers and Businesses

The Economic Development Department wishes to advise members of the public, particularly those in business, to be alert to a scam utilizing the logo of the Economic Development Department. The fraudsters involved send unsuspecting business operators a Request for Quotations for the provision of Solar Panels.

As the Economic Development Department, we wish to state that we do not have such a project, and therefore beware that the Request for Quotation is not from the Economic Development Department.

Please confirm any request you receive with our Supply Chain Management division on these details 012 394 3579. Report these fraudulent activities to the SAPS or call the Anti Corruption hotline 0800 701 701 or SMS to 39772 or send an email to fraud@economic.gov.za.

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