As the sustainable energy sector progresses into a period of encouraging growth, The New Economy Sustainable Energy Awards recognises the innovators and industry leaders who have bettered standards, performance and expectations around the world.
Albert Lennon, CEO of Solar Capital, says that the company is honoured that its hard work on the De Aar solar farm project in South Africa has won this esteemed accolade. “In an effort to meet the major energy deficit the country currently faces, we have worked closely with the South African Department of Energy (DoE) on the first phase of the installation of a 200 MW photovoltaic solar farm over two initial phases, with the capacity at the same location to increase to 400 MW.”
This first phase of the Solar Capital De Aar project will generate enough electricity to power approximately 35,000 South African homes every year, with the intention of delivering the first 75 MW of solar energy generated electricity into Eskom’s power grid. Our aim is to put South Africa on its way to achieving the production of 3,725 MW of renewable energy envisaged by the country’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme.
As part of the company’s work within the De Aar community, it has committed to the creation of sustainable jobs, and to educate and equip the local community with skills. Approximately 10% of the income from the project will be invested in De Aar on local social and economic initiatives, which will amount to over R174 million in the first five years alone. Before the completion of the first phase, the company has already donated over R1 million to local initiatives to support the community.
The De Aar Solar farm is part of the South African government’s solar energy programme. This project is 40% black owned. Seventy five percent of this BBBEE ownership, in an initiative supported by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), will be held in Trust for the De Aar local community, and the employees of SCDA. When the plant is installed, it will generate an average of R50 million a year, in dividends, for 20 years to be spent locally by these trusts. In addition, Solar Capital has guaranteed to the South African department of energy that it will spend 10% of its income in De Aar on local Social and Economic initiatives, which will amount to over R250 million in the first five years alone, of the project.
Apart from its acquisition of the 2,300 hectare farm on the outskirts of De Aar, Solar Capital has purchased a 2,000 square metre factory on a four hectare site in the centre of the town as well as having purchased the local 45 bedroom Hotel De Aar.