Acciona’s Sishen PV plant hits full capacity

03 June 2015

Spanish renewable-energy company Acciona’s 94.3-MW Sishen solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, in Dibeng, in the Northern Cape, has reached 100% capacity.

The plant entered service on November 29, 2014, with forecasts that it would, in future, generate 216 GWh/y of electricity, enough to supply 100,000 South African households.

The Sishen solar plant, estimated to get about 2 800 hours of sun a year, covers about 250 ha and comprised 319,600 PV modules, supported on 470 horizontal structures, or trackers, that are programmed to automatically follow the sun from east to west.

Acciona Energy South Africa Global CEO Rafael Esteban said renewable-energy projects of this magnitude were not often seen outside the borders of South Africa and that its scale pointed to the electricity constraints the country was facing.

South Africa needed more electricity generation capacity and, with demand expected to triple by 2050, renewable energy was both technically feasible and cost effective.

Acciona developed the solar park in a consortium with the Aveng Group. Soul City and the Dibeng Community Solar Energy Trust also have a stake in the facility.

Esteban highlighted that 3,732 jobs had been created during the construction phase. The top management team consisted of 87% previously disadvantaged people, and the percentage of disadvantaged women in that team was 46%. Sixty per cent of the people hired were from the local community. Finally, 63% of the employees were young people and 6% women.

Construction of the Sishen plant generated R657-million for local companies.


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