Greentech Lead America: SolarReserve, Kensani and Intikon announced it has completed $260 million solar project financing with key investment from Google and the PIC. The consortium will build, own and operate the 96 megawatt solar project, which will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent and stimulate economic development in the region.
SolarReserve is a U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects; the Kensani Group is an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa; and Intikon Energy is a South African developer of renewable energy projects.
The consortium has successfully closed project financing for the Jasper Solar Energy Project, a 96 megawatt (MW DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) project.
The Jasper Project, located in the Northern Cape of South Africa near the town of Kimberly, was selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in May of 2012 in the second round of bids under the South Africa Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).
Upon completion, the Jasper Project will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent and will help South Africa meet its renewable energy targets, stimulate long-term economic development, create jobs and power more than 30,000 South African homes. The project also marks Google’s first renewable energy investment in Africa.
South Africa leads the renewable energy race with the highest growth in clean energy in the world in 2012, making it a prime destination for continuing clean energy investment.
In November 2012, the consortium led by SolarReserve, Kensani Group and Intikon Energy closed $586 million (ZAR 5.15 billion) in financing for two 75-megawatt solar PV projects located in South Africa’s Free State and Northern Cape, the Letsatsi Project and the Lesedi Project, set to deliver energy to more than 50,000 homes by mid-2014.
Google participated in the project by becoming an equity investor at the financial close and will help fund the project during construction. Google has invested heavily in the renewable energy industry; since 2010, the company has committed more than US$1 billion to investments in renewable energy projects worldwide capable of producing two gigawatts of power.
The Jasper project has executed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility. The project cost of approximately ZAR2.3 billion ($260 million) will make this one of the single largest PV projects in Africa. The Jasper project is located adjacent to the 75 MW Lesedi Solar Energy Project, which broke ground in February 2013.
The Jasper and Lesedi Projects, along with the Letsatsi Project located near Bloemfontein, put the consortium’s total portfolio of successful solar projects at 244 MW, accounting for a 20 percent share of South Africa’s solar energy market.
Yielding approximately 300 construction jobs and 50 permanent operational jobs, the project will provide rural development programs and education enhancement, as well as skills and technology transfer. The project is expected to generate significant additional indirect and induced jobs across the supply chain during the construction phase and during the 25-year plus operational period.
The project has an annual operations and maintenance budget of ZAR 36.5 million ($4 million) for staff, services and spare parts. The project will also set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, amounting to a total of approximately ZAR 230 million ($26 million) over the life of the project, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities surrounding the project.