The photovoltaic (PV) facility has an installed generating capacity of 175MW, enough to provide electricity to roughly 75,000 homes per year.
It consists of more than half a million PV modules covering 473 hectares.
The project was split into two construction phases, with the first finished in August 2014 and providing 85.26MW of capacity.
The second phase added another 90MW of generating capacity about two years later.
Overall, it took 28 months to construct the entire facility at a cost of R4.8 billion.
At the time of publication, the largest solar plant globally was Bhadla Solar Park in India, with an installed capacity of 2,245MW, nearly 13 times that of Solar Capital’s De Aar plant.
The plant is built in a desert considered to be nearly uninhabitable.
Its peak daily temperatures range between 46-48°C, and it frequently gets battered by hot winds and sandstorms.
But its hot and largely cloud-free conditions make it perfect for generating solar power.
Bhadla’s construction began in March 2015, with four phases completed by March 2019.
It now comprises over 10 million solar panels and spans an area of roughly 5,700 hectares.
When the conditions are right, it can produce more power than Koeberg nuclear power station at full load or about half of Medupi’s generating capacity.
Plans are in place to expand its capacity to 3,500MW in the future.