Residents and businesses in the Kimberley area will soon receive the first of Droogfontein Solar Power’s energy, when the project becomes the first solar plant to supply Eskom with power in the Kimberley area. By mid December the area will receive over 14.4MW of peak power from the solar project, which means that over 6 500 households will soon be cooking or making a cup of tea on solar power. “As long as the sun is shining outside, residents may be using electricity in their homes or businesses from our project, which is an incredibly exciting thought,” said Kevin Foster, Project Manager of Droogfontein Solar Power. This is one of the first solar projects to export power in South Africa, a milestone for the region that will ensure that the project remains on schedule. “Not only are we on track, but we expect to be fully operational prior to the planned commercial operation date in April 2014,” said Foster. The export of power to the Eskom Grid will begin during the commissioning process, which is scheduled to start on 18 November. The process will be closely monitored by Eskom. Once the commissioning of the plant begins, a small amount of electricity will be exported to the grid to check the equipments reliability. “It’s great to think that during this period, the power that is exported to the Eskom grid will be consumed by Eskom customers in the Kimberley area,” added Foster. If the process runs smoothly, the power from the inverter area will continue to flow to the Eskom grid, and by mid-December this over 14 MW of peak power will be supplied to Eskom. “The process will also provide employees further opportunity to gain knowledge and skills related to a renewable energy power plant, from general workers all the way up to the project management team” concluded Foster.
Droogfontein Solar Park
The 50 MW Droogfontein Solar Park was submitted into Bid Window 1 of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme as part of a consortium.
It was awarded preferred bidder status by the Department under the programme and reached commercial operation on April 6, 2014.
The project is located in the Northern Cape and supplies the Eskom grid with 85,458 MWh each year.
The Solar Park is located 20 km outside of Kimberley in the Northern Cape and occupies 100 hectares.
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