Swiss ABB Group Wins Bid To Supply Technology For Two South African Solar Power Plants
February 15, 2013
Kyriaki (Sandy) Venetis in coal burning, photovoltaic power plants in South Africa, pollution, renewable energy, solar power, solar power plants in South Africa

The ABB Group, a global power and automation technology provider, based in Switzerland, has won a $225 million bid to supply development services including: design, technologies, hardware, engineering, installation, and commissioning to build two solar power plants in South Africa. The bids were awarded by Core Energy and Erika Energy.

The two solar power plants will be built in South Africa’s northern province of Limpopo, near the province’s capital city of Polokwane. They will be built at the Witkop and Soutpan Solar Parks, and respectively have a generating capacity of 33 MW and 31 MW.

The power generated from these plants will be fed into a high-voltage transmission grid through a new equally high-voltage substation.

ABB says that together, “the plants will generate 130 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough clean energy to power around 36,000 South African homes and displace around 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.”

Improvements in transmission technology have helped make solar power a more viable option, and ABB says that, “the latest generation of direct-current power lines reduce transmission losses compared with conventional alternating current counterparts. This means power can be sent over ever longer distances from remote generating sites to end users.”

The two new power plants will be among the first utility-scale photovoltaic plants to be built in phase one of the South African government’s long-term renewable energy program. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The government’s goal is to reduce pollution caused by electricity generation and diversify the country’s energy production.

ABB cites statistics, saying that between 85-to-90 percent of the electricity in South Africa comes from the country’s coal reserves and that nuclear power accounts for just five-to-10 percent, while renewables such as solar and wind produce only one percent.

South Africa is one of the sunniest regions in the world, and the government’s goal is to have 42 percent of all energy come from renewable sources by 2030. Among the benefits of photovoltaic energy are the recent falling costs, improved technologies, and increased efficiencies.


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