Bolobedu Photovoltaic Power Plant Planned For Limpopo, South Africa

Voltalia will construct solar plant with annual generation capacity of 300 GWh. 

By Chriselle Moraes on
19th December 2022

Voltalia, an international energy company, will construct the Bolobedu photovoltaic power plant in Limpopo, South Africa. The company signed a wheeling agreement with Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), a South African mining company. 

Under the agreement, RBM will be provided with renewable energy from the plant. The plant will have an annual generation capacity of 300 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and transfer power into Eskom’s grid to supply RBM’s smelting and process facilities. 

“Power from the solar plant will be solely supplied to RBM under the terms of the power purchase agreement (PPA). Voltalia will commence construction of the solar plant in 2023, with completion scheduled for 2024. The plant’s capacity is 148 megawatts,” said Werner Duvenhage, Richards Bay Minerals Managing Director.

The project will be about 120 kilometres east of Polokwane, Limpopo. It will be 51% black owned through BEE partners. The plant will help RBM reduce its greenhouse emissions by at least 10% per year by utilizing the renewable energy provided instead. It will also boost local employment opportunities. 

The focus will be on development and knowledge transfer during the construction and operational phases of the project. Successful individuals during the construction phase will also be placed in the plant during the operational phase. Seven hundred workers would be needed during the construction phase and 50 more while the plant operates.  

“As this solar energy project progresses, we will continue exploring additional renewable solutions that further reduce our emissions in South Africa and make Richards Bay Minerals a contributor to our net zero commitment,” said Sinead Kaufman, Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Minerals.

According to Sébastien Clerc, Voltalia CEO, the plant will use bi-facial solar panels, although there is no energy storage component to the project yet. He further stated that the Bolobedu photovoltaic power plant would be their largest venture in Africa after the plants in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritania, and Egypt. 

“This project is the first of our large South African solar-and-wind portfolio under development, in areas with grid connection available, that will be ready to support our clients to overpass the actual energy crisis with affordable, clean, and stable electricity,” said Clerc.

Top Photo: Solar Power Station (Wessel Cirkel | Dreamstime)

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