Solar park prospects promising

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pretoria - The Solar Park Conference held in Upington recently marked an important milestone in the realisation of the project, says Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

"The conference was an overwhelming success given the attendance by top executives CEOs and MDs of some of the world's top solar companies," she said after meeting with top officials from her department following the conference.

The conference, which drew investors from as far afield as South Korea, United States and India, was part of a feasibility study into the creation of a mega solar park in Upington, where government envisages that some 5 000 MW of renewable energy could be produced.

The project is the result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Department of Energy and the Clinton Climate Initiative last year. The prefeasibility study that was subsequently commissioned demonstrated that the Northern Cape has the highest radiation level in the country and was perfectly suitable to host a solar park.

Peters said the department initially expected 300 delegates, but about 450 people turned up.

"The very fact that Eskom's CEO, Brian Dames, and Chairperson, Mpho Makwana, attended and made a compelling presentation demonstrated the seriousness with which this project is being taken," she said.

Meanwhile, the recently released Draft IRP2010 makes reference to the 7200 Megawatt worth of renewable energy power that can be realised in the next two decades of the project.

Government has set itself a target of 1 100 MW worth of power in the first phase of the park.