The South African »Kathu« solar park constructed by Acciona Industrial and Sener enters commercial operation. The 100 MW plant is located in the Northern Cape region. The system incorporates SenerTrough-2 parabolic trough collectors and a molten salt storage system that enables heat from the solar park to be stored and electricity to be generated in the absence of solar radiation. This molten salt storage system, which provides up to 5 hours of power generation, extends the operational capacity of the plant after sundown and on cloudy days.
Construction began in May 2016 and has created 1,700 jobs in peak June 2018. The companies reached a »critical milestone« in November 2018, when the successful synchronization was achieved, electric power was generated and transferred on the national grid complying with all expected parameters.
The joint venture between Acciona Industrial and Sener Industrial was appointed by the shareholders, which is led by Engie, including a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund, its co-investors FMO, the Dutch development bank and DEG, the German investment and development company and the Public Investment Corporation to provide the engineering, procurement and construction services on the project.
The »Kathu« solar park was one of the projects awarded during bid window 3.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) by the South African Department of Energy. The project is part of the Government’s Integrated Resource Programme (IRP) 2010. This plan aims to increase the country’s power generation capacity to 86.8 GW by 2030, of which 24 percent will be renewable.
This is the second solar thermal power project jointly developed by the two companies in South Africa. The first was the 50 MW »Bokpoort« plant (Upington), officially opened in late 2016, for which they were also part of the construction consortium.
Acciona’s solar projects include the »Cerro Dominador« project (110 MW), the first solar thermal energy plant in Latin America currently under construction in the Atacama Desert in Chile; the »Noor 1« parabolic trough solar thermal power plant (160 MW) in Morocco; and the »Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park« (Stage III, 800 MW), currently under construction in Dubai (UAE).
Sener has participated in 29 plants in total, most of them turnkey projects, in Spain, the United States, South Africa (»Bokpoort«, »Kathu« and »Ilanga-1« solar thermal power plants) and Morocco (»Noor I« and »Noor II« parabolic trough solar thermal power plants and »Noor III« central tower power plant), representing over 2,000 MW of installed capacity.