Abengoa begins construction on South African CSP plants

The two plants will use advanced technology specifically developed for the country's needs and will be able to store energy and generate power after sunset

Abengoa said that it has begun construction on the 50 MW solar power tower Khi Solar One and the 100 MW parabolic trough plant KaXu Solar One in South Africa. The plants will be the first concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the country and are just two of the 28 renewable energy projects announced in late 2011 by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE).

In total the DOE intends to bring 17,800 MW of renewable energy online by 2030.

Abengoa is partnering with the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), South Africa's largest development finance institution. Abengoa will build, operate and maintain the plants and owns 51% of the projects. The IDC in turn holds 29%, and the Black Economic Empowerment program maintains the remaining 20%.

Project developers for the  plants have also signed long term power purchase agreements with Eskom, South Africa's power utility, and closed project finance agreements with a group of South African and international financial institutions.

The construction of the plants will reportedly create roughly 1400 local construction jobs on average per annum, peaking near 2000, and about 70 permanent operation jobs.

Both Khi Solar One and KaXu Solar One use Abengoa’s advanced dry cooling technology, which reduces water consumption. The plants also have storage capacity of about two hours for Khi Solar One and three hours for KaXu, which can be used during transient periods and after sunset. Abengoa currently has 743 MW of installed solar capacity around the world and 910 MW under construction. The company builds and operates both parabolic trough and tower CSP plants.

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