The 10MWp Adams solar PV plant is expected online in September, marketing and communications manager at developer Sola Group Kate Pallett told African Energy. Construction began in January following the approval of an amended generation licence from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in December (AE 429/7), allowing the plant to be one of the first to use a Wheeling Use of System Agreement with national utility Eskom. Adams is the first wheeling agreement of its kind, and the largest solar wheeling arrangement to date. The plant will supply power to Amazon’s South Africa operations, part of a global move by the corporation to shift its power consumption to renewables.
Construction is fully equity funded. The plant is majority-owned by black South Africans, with black women-owned Mahlako A Phahla Investments holding a 45% stake. The Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers’ Ideas Managed Fund, which has a partnership agreement with Sola Group, is also a shareholder in the project. Sola will act as both EPC and O&M contractor. Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Energy and Power announced in February 2021 that it had taken a 40% stake in Sola (AE 432/16).
The Adams solar PV project has a long history, being one of ten projects selected in the first round of the small projects independent power producer procurement programme in February 2015. The signing of key agreements was delayed by the government, resulting in the Adams bid being converted into a tender to supply Amazon’s data centres and other operations in the country.
Image: Adams solar PV project. Source: African Energy Live Data
South Africa Power Report 2021/22
The challenges facing the South African electricity supply industry have intensified over the past year, with the coronavirus emergency placing a heavy burden on the economy while severe load shedding has been imposed despite a fall in demand.
African Energy’s South Africa Power Report 2020/21 assesses the causes and symptoms of this crisis from political power struggles, governance issues and the long list of policy documents that are supposed to guide the ESI's future direction – but where in many cases ambitions are unfulfilled – to the country’s huge potential for renewable energy and the pressures of ensuring a ‘just transition’ away from coal.
Learn more about the report here.