California solar energy project developer and owner, SolarReserve has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency initializing the study and development of its “Urban Solar Farm” initiative in South African cities. The privately owned and operated solar farms will range from 5 to 30 megawatts in size, are expected to produce 200 megawatts of solar power that will be delivered to customers directly or through distribution agreements with existing utility companies.
In compliance with the US-led Power Africa program, the SolarReserve study will create a cost effective template to develop solar farms in urban areas for commercial and industrial consumers that have significant power needs. As such it’s focussed on the deployment of ground-mounted solar panel arrays, avoiding challenges posed by insufficient roof space in densely populated areas. SolarReserve also plans to integrate solar power with energy storage systems allowing the solar farms to provide grid stability.
"This groundbreaking study has the potential to impact the way municipalities across South Africa accommodate privately-owned clean power generation within their distribution borders. It represents a unique approach to involving the private sector in expanding South Africa's generation capacity while stimulating job growth and small business development,” said SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith after signing the agreement.
USTDA Director Leocadia Zak added: "This unique private sector-led power solution is a clear demonstration of the impact Power Africa is having on Africa's economic development. Working together with an innovative American company and a strong partner in South Africa, USTDA is proud to support increased use of renewable energy that will spur broader gains across the economy.”
With a need for mid-sized solar projects in South Africa, SolarReserve’s Urban Solar Farms project aims to fill markets that meet customer needs by producing power from renewable sources. SolarReserve already has 246 megawatts of solar power online in South Africa with an expected 100 megawatts of solar thermal energy to be granted by South Africa’s Department of Energy.
SolarReserve’s 110-megawatt utility-scale thermal solar facility at its Crescent Dunes Energy Project in Nevada proved a success by being able to produce solar power for a potential 75,000 homes, 24 hours a day during peak use periods without the need for battery systems. With its thermal solar project online in Nevada company, SolarReserve has also partnered with Shenhua Group Corp., the world’s largest coal supplier, to develop and construct 1 gigawatt of solar thermal projects in China.Tweet