Scatec Solar’s 86MWp Sirius solar PV plant near Upington in South Africa’s Northern Cape began commercial operations on 18 February. Sirius is the first of three projects Scatec Solar is developing alongside Norfund and H1 Holdings with combined peak capacity of 258MW. The remaining two plants – Dyason’s Klip I and II – are scheduled to come online in the coming months. Sirius is expected to produce 217 GWh/yr.
The plants are owned by Scatec Solar (42%), Norfund (18%), and H1 Holdings (35%). The remaining 5% is held by a local community trust. Standard Bank was the mandated lead arranger for the debt financing for the three projects, which were expected to cost around R4.76bn ($317m) split 77:23 between debt and equity. Scatec Solar was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor and will also be responsible for operations and maintenance.
The three projects were awarded on 16 April 2015 in the fourth round of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producer programme. However, a difficult political environment meant that power purchase and implementation agreements where not signed until April 2018.
Construction of Sirius began in December 2018. The project uses 277,500 BYD 310 P6C-3 polycrystalline modules with horizontal single axis tracking systems and 37 SMA Sunny Central 2200 inverters, covering an area of 250ha.
“We are pleased to reach another milestone with the grid connection of our fourth solar power plant in South Africa, with a combined capacity of 276 MW”, Scatec Solar chief executive Raymond Carlsen said. “South Africa continues to be a very important market for Scatec Solar, and we are developing several interesting project opportunities both within the utility scale segment as well as our container based solar solution – Release”.
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