Solea Renewables breaks ground on 1st ever 1 Mw photovoltaic plant in SA

THABAZIMBI – Solea Renewables has signed a turnkey contract with Cronimet Energy SA (CESA) to deliver the first ever off-grid utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) system in Southern Africa. The 1 megawatt (MW) plant will produce approximately 1.8 GWh of electricity per year.

The photovoltaic plant will be constructed on Cronimet Energy SA’s site in Thabazimbi, Limpopo. Ground breaking took place on Wednesday 15 August and construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed by late October 2012.

The plant is designed to offer mining and other industrial companies with a cost effective grid independent complement to traditional diesel generators and the project is in line with national plans to increase power supplies from independent producers. It also dovetails with South Africa’s stated objective of increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the mix of power sources.

Vusi Mhlanzi, Director of Solea Renewables says, “While PV power is not yet designed to make grid connection, or back-up power systems obsolete, it will definitely supplement the electricity mix by reducing daytime diesel consumption and grid dependency while securing users with a natural long-term hedge against all rising costs of power.”

Solea Renewables (PTY) LTD is a South African photovoltaic (PV) engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, and Cronimet Energy SA is a fully owned subsidiary of the newly established Cronimet Mining Energy GmbH based in Germany.

He notes that, “While the global demand for South African coal, platinum, palladium and chromium increases, mines and other industrial consumers face power supply constraints due to capacity challenges at Eskom. The turnkey delivery of the PV plants will not only benefit end-users, but will in turn help reduce the ever present and increasing energy demand Eskom faces.”

“A lot still needs to be done in the green energy space in Southern Africa.  Our aim is to grow the supply of green energy provisions and become the leading photovoltaic engineering, procurement and construction contractor in Southern Africa,” concludes Mhlanzi.

From left to right: Uli Eckel (Construction Supervisor, Solea AG), Rollie Armstrong (Director, Solea Capital), Moritz Hill (CEO, CCMSA), Vusi Mhlanzi (Director, Solea Renewables), Steffen Kammerer (Director, Solea Capital) and Nkosi Ncube (Director, Solea Renewables) at the ground breaking event on Wednesday 15 August.