USTDA backs SolarReserve's urban solar farms plan for S Africa
South African President Jacob Zuma at the US-Africa Business Forum. Author: GovernmentZA. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.
California-based firm SolarReserve LLC was awarded a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for several mid-sized urban solar projects in South Africa.
The grant, signed at the US-African Business Forum in New York yesterday, will help SolarReserve South Africa (Proprietary) Ltd develop a blueprint for the execution of 50 MW of photovoltaic (PV) projects in urban areas, as a start. The project may be expanded further to 200 MW.
The PV parks under the "Urban Solar Farms" initiative will range in size from 5 MW to 30 MW. They will be privately owned and operated and will supply power to end users either directly or through wheeling arrangements with municipal distribution companies.
The goal of the programme is to provide a framework for large commercial and industrial electricity consumers with significant power requirements to cost-effectively go renewable in urban areas, SolarReserve said.
The US company plans to also integrate solar power with energy storage in order to meet peak energy demand requirements, improve grid stability and help defer utility substation and network upgrades.
“This groundbreaking study has the potential to impact the way municipalities across South Africa accommodate privately-owned clean power generation within their distribution borders,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve.
US company Mott MacDonald Inc will be the one to carry out the feasibility study, to gather technical, economic, financial, legal, permitting and commercial inputs. SolarReserve needs these for its strategic analysis ahead of financing and implementation.
SolarReserve already has 246 MW of operational solar capacity and several utility-scale projects in South Africa.
At the same Business Forum, the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) agreed to provide USD 250 million (EUR 224m) in financing for the 158-MW Taiba Ndiaye wind project in Senegal.