South Africa launches giant solar thermal electricity plant

March 9, 2015

In a bid to harness South Africa’s solar exposure to relieve the country’s ailing national electricity grid, the biggest solar thermal electricity plant in the southern hemisphere was launched in the country

South Africa’s first solar thermal electricity plant, KaXu Solar One, was opened in the Northern Cape province on Monday.

The massive plant will add 100 megawatts to the national grid, generating enough power for approximately 80,000 houses, and can serve the needs of around 400,000 South Africans. This will be accomplished by 828,000 square metres of reflective surfaces in the solar field. It will also prevent 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

South Africa’s new plant is the first of its kind in Africa and the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

According to My Broadband, the plant covers an area of three square kilometres, and is made up of 1,200 collectors. Each collector has 10 modules, and each module has 28 mirrors.

Solar thermal energy is unique in its ability to allow energy to be stored in molten salt, meaning that energy can be supplied to the national grid on demand.

KaXu-Solar-One-photo

One-of-KaXu-Solar-Ones-1-200-collectors

South Africa’s Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel said KaXu Solar One forms part of 33 renewable plants opened which, by the end of the month, will avail 1,685MW of renewable energy.

“In 12 months we have been building plants that will generate almost as much as Koeberg,” said Patel.

KaXu is owned by Abengoa (59%), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (29%), and the KaXu Community Trust (21%).

Source: My Broadband

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