California-based photovoltaic manufacturer SunPower has started construction of its third solar power project under South Africa’s renewable energy program REIPPP.
The 86-megawatt peak (MWp) solar power plant is being installed at Prieska in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.
Last year SunPower completed two projects under REIPPPP, which is short for Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The projects developed at Douglas in Northern Cape Province added 33 megawatts of capacity.
SunPower has stated that it hopes to complete the Prieska project by next year.
“South Africa is one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world today,” Tom Werner, the president and CEO of SunPower, said. “We look forward to continuing to serve the region with the opening of our new solar panel manufacturing plant this year.”
SunPower will provide operations and maintenance services for the Prieska project once it is completed.
And the electricity produced at the Prieska farm will be sold to ESKOM, the regional public utility, under a power purchase agreement.
SunPower will be employing its Oasis Power Plant technology for building the Prieska site.
The technology employs single-axis trackers that help constantly reposition the solar panels to face the Sun, following its movement throughout the day.
It improves the capture of solar energy by up to 25 percent compared with fixed-tilt solar technology.
SunPower, through its parent company Total, owns the majority stakes (27 percent) in the project company which also includes Mulilo Solar Enterprises, South Africa, (18 percent), a local community trust and three other partners.
At its recently launched solar panel manufacturing plant, SunPower is targeting an annual production of 160 megawatts worth units.
Ajith Kumar S