South Africa turns on 150MW of PV

US developer SolarReserve has finished building two PV projects in South Africa totalling 150MW.

Lesedi, in the Northern Cape, near Kimberley; and Letsatsi, near Bloemfontein in the Free State, are fully operational and connected to the Eskom grid.

As mandated under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the projects set aside a percentage of revenues to foster local enterprise and socio-economic development.

The two 75MW projects, selected by the Department of Energy in the first round of bids under the REIPPPP, have 20-year power-purchase agreements (PPAs) with Eskom.

They were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), investment group Kensani, GCL Poly Energy and Intikon Energy.

SolarReserve is building another South African project, the 96MW Jasper, near Kimberley. It too has a 20-year government-supported PPA with Eskom and includes Google's first renewable-energy investment in South Africa.

Japer is expected to begin commercial operation this year.