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MRP taps Siemens for South African wind and PV projects

Siemens has blasted into the South African renewables market, with Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) hiring the German industrial giant as turbine supplier for the 138MW Jeffrey’s Bay wind farm and lead contractor for two 50MW PV arrays.

Ireland-based MRP won the rights to develop its Jeffrey’s Bay wind project (in Eastern Cape) and the De Aar and Droogfontein ground-mounted PV installations (both in Northern Cape) as part of South Africa’s first renewables tender concluded last December.

MRP sold stakes in the trio of projects to a variety of investors led by Guernsey-based Globeleq Generation, but has said it intends to maintain a stake of 10% or so in each, a detail important to the South African government.

Two weeks ago – and after several months of delay – the South African government finalised power-purchase agreements with the 28 developers granted projects in the first tender, setting in motion a wave of supply agreements, most of which had been lined up last year.

Siemens will supply and install 60 of its 2.3MW turbines at Jeffrey’s Bay, and will maintain the machines for 10 years.

Siemens will also act as engineering, procurement and construction contractor for MRP’s two South African PV projects using Suntech modules, despite its recent decision to walk away from solar business, at least as a manufacturer.

“The orders from Europe and our market entry in South Africa clearly demonstrate that we are continuing along the right path – also with our onshore business,” says Felix Ferlemann, chief executive of Siemens Energy’s wind division.

Of the eight first-round wind farms allocated in South Africa, Vestas, Nordex and Sinovel have their name attached to two projects apiece, while Siemens and Suzlon each nabbed one.