As the world’s combustible energy sources and oil supplies are busy being depleted, many companies and nations have turned to implementing renewable energy sources for the last couple of years – and South Africa is not far behind.
While SA has a number of solar-powered energy plants scattered across the country, one of the biggest ones recently came online. The De Aar 3 plant, situated just outside the sleepy Northern Cape town of De Aar, is an 85MW solar project that uses 200 000 amorphous silicon thin-film modules. This makes it South Africa’s biggest thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power plant.
Sitting on 270 hectares of desert sand, the project will be able to generate 150,000 MWh per year for 35 000 households – through a contract signed with electricity provider Eskom. Under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, Eskom agreed to purchase electricity from the plant for the next 20 years.