According to ESI-Africa, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe's long-term lending institution, has agreed to provide about R546m for the Khi Solar One project. This is the first large concentrated solar power project in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the first private sector renewable energy projects in South Africa. The Khi Solar One project consists of a 200m high tower and more than 4,500 heliostat moving mirrors to reflect light onto the tower.
The Khi Solar One plant is located on a 600 hectare site close to SA Northern Cape Province's town of Upington. It will use concentrated solar technology that harnesses solar radiation by focusing it onto a small area to produce steam, which drives a turbine and produces electricity. Advanced dry cooling technology will reduce water consumption by two thirds.
The plant will sell its electricity to Eskom for 20 years, as agreed under a power purchase agreement (PPA). An average of 600 construction jobs will be created during the construction period and there will be about 35 fulltime plant operations employees. The plant will be able to store thermal energy for two hours and will prevent about 183,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, ESI-Africa reports.
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