National, local government, industry and community representatives were on hand for the official inauguration ceremonies. Both the 50 MW PV De Aar Solar Power and 50 MW PV Droogfontein Solar Power facilities have been generating clean energy to the national grid following connection in late 2013.
"Globeleq, Mainstream Renewable Power and our consortium partners have clearly demonstrated the ability to successfully develop, finance, construct and operate utility-scale solar projects in the newly created South African renewable energy market," said Mikael Karlsson, CEO for Globeleq. "Infrastructure projects like these boost local economies through delivery of clean and reliable electricity, creation of jobs and the development of skills that will increasingly be in demand as the industry grows. The projects are also an important contribution to the country's energy mix."
During construction, the two solar plants created nearly 1000 jobs -- of which more than 700 were drawn from the surrounding communities. Now that De Aar and Droogfontein Solar Power are operational, a percentage of project revenues will be reinvested into the local community through socio-economic and enterprise development programmes.
In addition to the two 50 MW PV solar plants, Globeleq is also involved in the 138 MW Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, located on the Eastern Cape. The three facilities are part of the Government of South Africa's Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Program and are among the very first large scale renewable power plants to be built in the country. Globeleq is the majority shareholder in a consortium comprising Mainstream Renewable Power, Thebe Investment Corporation, engineering firms Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering and local community trusts. Old Mutual is an additional consortium member in the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
Mark Pickering, managing director of Globeleq South Africa, which manages the operation and commercial aspects of the three facilities, said these plants are part of the first wave of private power generation to be built in the country in many decades.
Torbjorn Caesar, partner, co-head of energy for private equity firm Actis1, said the emerging markets are providing an increasingly attractive environment for energy investors as policy support continues to encourage investment in the sector, particularly in renewables. "Actis will continue to provide shareholder support to Globeleq and other renewable initiatives in our target regions," he stated.
1. Actis, which has $6.5 billion of funds under management, is the sole owner of Globeleq.