Cape Town - When South Africans switch on their lights on Tuesday night (November 12), a small portion of their electricity will be powered by the sun for the first time.
Electricity from the country’s first solar power plant, the 75 megawatt Kalkbult solar PV power station, flows into the national grid on Tuesday, making it the first solar plant to come online.
Kalkbult, in the Northern Cape about halfway between De Aar and Hopetown, will generate 155 million kilowatt hours a year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 33 000 households.
The solar plant is one of scores of private renewable energy plants the government has authorised to provide green electricity for the next 20 years, part of the Department of Energy’s renewable energy independent power producer programme. The programme contributes to South Africa’s commitment to combat climate change by reducing our high carbon footprint, primarily from our reliance on coal to generate electricity.
Investment by the private sector in the solar, wind, mini-hydro and biogas projects in the programme is estimated at R100-billion.