Home News Massive solar farm inaugurated in Northern Cape

Massive solar farm inaugurated in Northern Cape

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Norwegian-based renewable energy firm Scatec officially launched the Kenhardt solar farm, a 540MW powerhouse, in the Northern Cape this week. Spanning 879 hectares (more than 1,500 soccer fields), the site houses one million solar panels.

The Kenhardt solar farm in the Northern Cape, one of the world’s largest hybrid solar PV and battery storage projects. Picture: Scatec

IN A SIGNIFICANT stride towards sustainable energy, Norwegian renewable energy firm Scatec officially launched the Kenhardt solar farm, a 540MW powerhouse, in the Northern Cape this week.

The inauguration, held on April 18, was marked by a keynote address from CEO Terje Pilskog, who highlighted the project’s journey to energising South Africa’s grid and Scatec’s dedication to the local market.

The Kenhardt solar farm stands as one of the world’s largest hybrid power projects, boasting 540MW of solar capacity, 225MW of battery storage, and a staggering 1.1GWh of storage capacity.

Spanning 879 hectares (more than 1,500 soccer fields), the site is a testament to renewable innovation, housing one million solar panels and 456,000 feet of battery containers.

This makes it one of the largest hybrid solar and battery storage facilities in the world.

“The sheer size of Kenhardt is impressive, difficult to grasp,” said Pilskog at the launch.

A workforce of 2,600, predominantly South African nationals and a significant number of women, were employed during the construction phase. Pilskog praised the team for their commitment to safety and efficiency, completing the project within an 18-month timeline.

South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, initiated in 2010, has been instrumental in the country’s renewable energy advancements. Scatec, a preferred bidder from the programme’s outset, has been at the forefront, with its first utility-scale project, Kalkbult, operational in the Northern Cape since 2013.

The Kenhardt project, which began development in 2014, now delivers 150MW of dispatchable power to the grid from dawn to dusk, under a 20-year agreement with Eskom.

This achievement is a collaborative effort, supported by Scatec’s funding partners, including H1 Holdings, Standard Bank, Old Mutual, Norfund, EsksFin, and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Pilskog emphasised the critical role of energy storage in addressing power shortages and advancing energy security. He also noted the broader implications of renewable energy for national development, industry decarbonisation and societal growth.

“Plants like Kenhardt significantly alleviate the power shortages currently experienced, highlighting the critical role of energy storage in the country’s road towards energy security and the battle against the ongoing load shedding crisis,” he said.

With this launch, Pilskog said Scatec reaffirms its commitment to expanding its presence in South Africa and contributing to the region’s leadership in renewable energy development.

Source: engineeringnews.co.za

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