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South African solar plant set to bring energy to thousands

Also in response to chronic power outages in South Africa, the Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV plant will provide clean and reliable energy as well as employment.

275,000 photovoltaic modules connected by 990 kilometres of cables. The logistics behind coordinating such a project are tremendous. The Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV project will, once completed, cover an area approximately equal to 125 football or rugby fields. The plant, which is being constructed by US company Sonnedix in the Northern Free State area of Prieska, will have a capacity of 86 megawatts per hour of power and provide about 86,000 homes with clean electricity. The project is due for completion in July 2016, when it will connect to the public utility Eskom‘s grid.

“The project, which is being developed under the renewable energy independent power producers programme (REIPPPP), will be run under the auspices of the Department of Energy”, says Sonnedix Country Manager Farid Moucer. “The project will connect to the grid later this year and has an expected twenty year lifespan, which we will operate with a local team”.

 

sonnedix solar plant
The Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska PV project © Sonnedix

Boosting the local economy

“It’s a significant boost to the local economy because Sonnedix and its project partners are also transferring valuable skills to locals. We look forward to developing several more solar projects in the region to realise its full potential,” Moucer explains.

The plant, which comprises an investment of 1.3 billion South African rand (over 86 million dollars), is half complete. It has already impacted positively on the region’s economy, creating over 500 direct jobs within the local community and many more indirect ones, injecting much-needed revenue.

 

sonnedix south africa
The Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska PV project © Sonnedix

Tourist attraction

Besides employing a large contingent of local labour, many of the suppliers are local, and the project has sparked an influx of visitors to the area. These, in turn, require accommodation and services, which also contribute to supporting the local economy.

Yet another step forward bringing us closer to a world where the price of solar electricity is cheaper than fossil fuels and solar power is limitless.

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