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Milestone for NC solar plant

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The solar plant achieved its first successful synchronisation to the national grid.

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THE KATHU Solar Plant has reached a major milestone after it achieved its first synchronisation recently.

The engineering and technology group SENER and ACCIONA Industrial this month reached a critical milestone in the construction project of the 100MW Kathu Solar Power Plant with molten salt storage system, when it achieved its first successful synchronisation to the national grid, complying with all expected parameters to ensure the supply of power starts and end users can consume reliable energy once the plant is operational.

The Kathu Solar Park CPS Plant, which will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes, is equipped with a molten salt storage system that will allow the plant to keep producing electricity 4.5 hours steadily in the absence of solar radiation and guarantee dispatchable energy generation to meet on-demand needs.

“Once fully operational, the plant will provide clean energy to the local community of the John Taolo District Municipality, the Northern Cape Province and South Africa as a whole. The use of molten salt as thermal energy storage system will allow Kathu Solar Park to operate in a cost-effective manner, storing the generated energy from the sun, producing and dispatching electricity, in absence of solar radiation, to satisfy South Africa’s peak demand,” Siyabonga Mbanjwa, SENER southern Africa regional managing director, said.

Construction on the unit began in May 2016 and it is expected to be completed in early 2019. During this phase, around 1 200 jobs are being created, impacting positively on the local employment prospects. In addition to this, it is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over 20 years.