"The planned solar park will provide new impetus for the economy by reducing the cost of solar power due to economies of scale, creating an opportunity for localization through the development of a technology manufacturing capability, and attracting private sector investors to operate IPP plants within the park," energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said at the inauguration of the 75-MW Solar Capital De Aar 3 park in the same South African province.
The minister noted that there is vast interest for further solar power investment in the province and sufficiently high solar radiation to support a huge investment such as that in 1.5 GW of solar capacity. Solar Capital De Aar 3 is the 17th photovoltaic (PV) plant to enter commercial operation in Northern Cape.
Tina Joemat-Pettersson also noted that the province needs to strengthen its grid to prepare for future large-scale renewable power plants since local projects have already utilised much of the available grid capacity. For instance, the current capacity limit of the network between Karoo and Namaqualand approximates 3.2 GW, whilst the total interest for this area reaches 3.7 GW. Funds for the expansion of the network have not been budgeted for in the current multiyear price determination (MYPD3) to 2017/18 so the province might need to rely on private investments.
South Africa aims to have 13 GW of renewable energy plants by 2025 through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).