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6 November 2012

Soitec signs power purchase agreement for 44MWp CPV plant in South Africa

Soitec of Bernin, France has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) covering the electricity generated at the Touwsrivier concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant that it is to build in South Africa.

Soitec says that the agreement represents a decisive step for the project, which was submitted in connection with the first call for projects from independent power producers (IPPs) launched by the South African Ministry of Energy, for which Touwsrivier was pre-selected in December 2011. Following the signing, Soitec will now seek to refinance the project and start construction of the power plant.

Based in the Western Cape, close to the Aquila Private Game Reserve (in which Soitec has already built a pilot facility), the Touwsrivier power plant will ultimately have a capacity of 44MWp. Construction is scheduled to be completed during 2014, but commercial operation of the first installed systems will begin in mid-2013.

“Approval of the power purchase agreement by the South African Ministry of Energy and its signature by national electricity supplier Eskom represent a major step forward in the expansion of our business in South Africa and generally worldwide,” says Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of Soitec’s Solar energy division. “It reflects the suitability of our concentrating photovoltaic technology for very sunny regions,” he adds. “Our modules boast a yield of close to 30% and a very long service life.”

According to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) launched by the South African Department of Energy, about 42% of the electricity generated in the country will come from renewable resources in 2030. The IPP program calls for 3,725MW in renewable energy capacity to be built, including 1,450MW in photovoltaic power. After the IPP first bid submission, 18 solar photovoltaic projects (out of 28 renewable projects) were selected.

“Our Touwsrivier project is one of the first to have been selected by the South African Department of Energy,” says Soitec’s chairman & CEO André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé. “The fact we are able to take aspects of local content into account is another key point of our approach.”

Tags: Soitec CPV


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