Solar Power in South Africa

The future of power in South Africa is brilliant and bright, brimming with new possibilities where natural resources are being used to power our world. 

Power is now being made by converting sunlight into direct current electricity and it is a new and innovative way of thinking that turns invention into sustainable living. There is a definitive commitment to harnessing the power of renewable energy to transform the lives of millions of South Africans – it is time to say hello to affordable energy today. 

South Africa is the most southern country in Africa and the 25th largest by land area. At present, wind power is delivering in the region of 960 MW to the power grid and solar power has a total of 2 292 MW solar photovoltaic capacity. 

One of the biggest renewable energy projects in South Africa is a 12-billion-rand solar farm situated in the Northern Cape and is now live. 

Engie, the company responsible for this plant, claims that this solar farm is achieving a commercial operation of 100 MW solar in the Northern Cape – one of the largest renewable energy projects. The project which is situated in Kathu will provide clean and reliable energy to 179 000 homes in the local community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality, to the Northern Cape and South Africa.   

Interesting facts 

  • R12 billion was secured to finance this project 
  • The project created 12000 jobs 
  • The Kathu Solar Park will save six million tons of CO2 over a twenty-year period 
  • Kathu’s Molten Salt storage design guarantees clean energy solutions and has been created to overcome the intermittency of renewable energy 
  • The solar plant covers 4.5 square kilometres with 384,000 mirrors 
  • It makes use of patented parabolic trough technology 
  • The curved solar panels track the movement of the sun 
  • It then stores the energy in a molten salt storage system that will allow the plant to keep producing electricity 4.5 hours steadily in the absence of solar radiation 

Some of the important solar farms found is SA: 

  • Coega Wind Farm in Coega situated near Port Elizabeth within the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and was the very first wind farm built in SA 
  • Darling Wind Farm – one of the first two wind farms in SA which is located close to Cape Town 
  • Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm which can be found on the outskirts of the coastal town of Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape 
  • Gouda Wind Facility in the Western Cape just outside the town of Gouda
  • Sere Wind Farm in the Western Cape 

Solar energy, as with all other renewable energies, is very safe and environmentally friendly. There are no emissions as the source of fuel is the sun, unlike coal-powered facilities.