Mahlako Energy Fund has invested in South Africa’s first large-scale operational wheeling project, the 10 MW solar plant in the Northern Cape which has reached a commercial operation stage. Photo: Supplied
Mahlako Energy Fund has invested in South Africa’s first large-scale operational wheeling project, the 10 MW solar plant in the Northern Cape which has reached a commercial operation stage. Photo: Supplied

Women-owned Mahlako Energy Fund invests in locally owned solar plant in the Northern Cape

By Given Majola Time of article published Nov 8, 2021

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THE Mahlako Energy Fund has invested in South Africa’s first large-scale operational wheeling project, the 10 MW solar plant in the Northern Cape which has reached a commercial operation stage.

This milestone project is South Africa’s first large-scale energy wheeling project providing clean energy to Amazon Web Services via the Eskom grid. Wheeling is a financial transaction that allows power to be produced remotely in one location and billed to an energy user in another region.

Mahlako Energy Fund, operated and managed by Mahlako Financial Services (MFS), holds a 45 percent stake in the project, expanding MFS’s goal of increasing participation by black women owned asset managers in the energy sector.

Through the collaboration between MFS, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the SOLA Group, this project demonstrate’s South Africa’s potential for grid independence and wheeling.

Mahlako’s fund principal and non-executive director of Adams Solar PV Project, Makole Mupite, expressed delight at the project achieving its commercial operation date.

“This is a significant position for our Fund, which is 100 percent black-women owned and operated, showcasing our commitment to growing our portfolio to bring about desired returns for our investors, and our confidence in the renewable energy space as a viable and attractive to facilitate economic transformation.”

This project, she said, demonstrates how the private sector together with the government through the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy, supported by National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) and Eskom, can introduce new models for renewable energy generation in South Africa.

The project, based in Khathu in the Northern Cape, did not only uses the province’s vast potential for renewable energy and for the development of the green economy, but also addresses the challenges of economic empowerment, inclusivity and prosperity, specifically through the participation of under-represented population groups.

Executive director of MFS Meta Mhlarhi said they remained true to their purpose of sustainable investing in applying their Environmental Social Governance (ESG) principles.

“With the recent announcement by the South African government at COP26 to accelerate investment in renewable energy and other sectors, we are committed to contributing towards South Africa’s just transitions goals to using more cleaner forms of energy,” Mhlarhi said.

“The project contributed to the province’s economic development during the building phase, and will, over its lifetime, sustain permanent jobs in electrical maintenance, operation, and security.”

The Mahlako Energy Fund has further projects in the pipeline, as the Fund has positioned itself for growth and playing a leading role in the progress of South Africa’s energy sector.

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