Africa’s Largest Solar Plant Comes Online

In May 2013, we announced our first renewable energy investment in Africa. The Jasper Power Project is a 96-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, near Postmasburg. There is a lot of potential for solar in a country where the sun shines year round. From virtually no renewable energy in 2011, South Africa has awarded close to 4 gigawatts (GW) in wind and solar contracts to become one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world.

Today, we’re happy to contribute to that momentum. The Jasper Project has completed construction and is capturing sunlight nearly two months ahead of schedule. In fact, with 325,000 PV modules, it is the largest solar energy plant in Africa. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
Jasper Power Project PV panels
During construction, the Jasper Project created over 800 on-site construction jobs. As part of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the project will also set aside a percentage of total revenues—approximately $26 million over the life of the project, for rural development and education programs.

The Jasper Project will deliver 180,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity annually for South Africa residents – enough to power up to 80,000 households. It’s promising to see South Africa continue to take advantage of its abundant wind and solar resources to bring more clean energy to the country’s power grid. The government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 and the Jasper Project is an important step into addressing the power shortages afflicting the country.

Posted by Coy Ross, Google energy asset manager