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juwi starts build on its first solar park in South Africa

The 7MW solar park near Rustenburg / will generate clean electricity for more than 10,000 thousand households and create economic opportunites for more than 200 people during construction phase, the firm says.

Construction works on juwi’s first South African engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project officially kicked off. Located a few kilometres south-east of the historic mining town of Rustenburg, the 7MW solar park is also the first in the North West Province.

"The free-field installation will not only provide clean and sustainable electricity to over ten thousand households, it will additionally boost the local economy," juwi Renewable Energies said. The project directly involves more than 200 people during engineering and construction phase, as well as some operational jobs for the entire lifetime of the plant (more than 20 years). The owners of the solar park are Momentous Technologies, Momentous Solar Farm, Momentous Foundation and Evolution One Fund. The project’s local content is more than 40%.

The Rustenburg solar plant is the first of four EPC projects totalling 35MW that juwi Renewable Energies successfully won during the first tendering round under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (RE IPPP). The company was 100% successful with its bids as an EPC contractor.

“This is truly a great start for South Africa’s energy transition towards 100 percent renewable energy power production as well as in terms of local economic development. The decentralized expansion of renewable energies offers regions great economic activities and increases the local value chain”, Greg Austin, juwi Renewable Energies’ Head of Operations, states.

A local community trust owns 17%  of the plant. The trust is mandated to use the dividends from the projects for community upliftment programmes for all areas within a radius of 50 kilometres from the plant.

The Rustenburg Local Municipality has welcomed the solar park as it "offers great potential in terms of job creation and community upliftment". RustMo 1 Solar Park has been the largest investment in this area for many years.

The solar farm will have a total module surface of 94,650 square meters. The photovoltaic (PV) system will produce more than 12.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of eco-friendly electricity per year. This equals the annual electricity consumption of over 10,000 households.

The project also gives a major boost to South Africa’s climate objectives as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 6000 tons annually. It supports South Africa’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent by 2022. The solar power plant is scheduled to be connected to the local Eskom grid in mid-October 2013 and to feed electricity into the grid a month later.

Momentous Operations Services will maintain and operate the solar farm. juwi is subcontracted to provide the operations and maintenance specific to the plant for the first five years from its state of the art control room situated in Wörrstadt, in Germany. The control centre efficiently monitors every juwi renewable energy power plant in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where the solar park is situated around the globe.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity