South Africa’s central province bets on photovoltaic solar energy

The South African province of Gauteng is moving ahead with plans to establish a solar park with a capacity of at least 800 megawatts (MW) that will be connected to the national grid.

According to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, the long-term plan with Sibanye-Stillwater Town Council already has approval for the lease of land to the six designated independent power producers who will develop a PV plant in the Merafong township .

In addition to this initiative, Lesufi said, the province is expected to add at least 100 MW to the grid from April, using the open cycle gas turbine technology facilities at Johnware and Durban Street.

Furthermore, he added that the current provincial investment in smart electricity meters can generate the megawatts needed to protect residents against two phases of load shedding (about 1,000 MW per day).

This represents, according to him, “a fundamental step towards the energy stability of the economic center of the country.”

Meanwhile, the Gauteng government has taken steps to protect around 21 health centers from daily power outages by installing solar photovoltaic and battery storage systems.

In addition to these medium-term initiatives, for now the provincial government, together with Eskom, the state-owned national electricity company, and the local City Power, are delivering around 429 transformers to the poorest communities in the province.