Renewable energy initiative powering nearly 200k homes in SA

US-based company SolarReserve runs 3 solar plant projects in the Northern Cape and in the Free State.

File picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A renewable energy initiative in the Northern Cape is powering nearly 200,000 homes in South Africa using solar power.

US-based company SolarReserve - backed by the Public Investment Corporation and the American government - runs three solar plant projects in the Northern Cape and in the Free State.

The main plant just outside Postmasburg uses more than 325,000 solar panel mirrors on over 170 hectares of land.

The Jasper and Letsatsi power plants, which came into operation in 2014, produce about 96 and 97 megawatts of power respectively - which it sells to Eskom.

A third power plant, based in the Free State, generates 75 megawatts.

SolarReserve vice-president of development Terrence Govender says in two months' time, they will begin construction on a 100-megawatt project adjacent to the existing plants.

"80,000 houses for Jasper, so a 96 megawatts DC, a 96 megawatt peak plant can do more than 80,000 average homes in South Africa. It can do a lot more because we're feeding in the Northern Cape grid as well (sic)."