In a bid to protect its citizens from load shedding, the City of Cape Town plans to build its first grid-connected solar plant next year.
On Wednesday, the City issued the tender for engineering, procurement and construction of its planned 7MW Atlantis solar photovoltaic (PV). The facility will be connected directly into the City’s electrical network.
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Similar plants could be constructed across the metro too, said Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis in a statement.
“This is one of a range of interventions to end load-shedding over time. The power plant would start generating electricity in 2024 and be in operation for 20 years, with a foreseen annual output of 14.7GWh,” said Hill-Lewis.
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“The City currently purchases most of its electricity from Eskom. High Eskom price escalations expected in future may not be financially sustainable for the City and its residents. It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the City’s financial sustainability as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom. Reducing the dependency on Eskom also means the City can develop and explore more climate-friendly power sources than Eskom’s coal-fired power stations.
“This is another decisive step that the City is taking toward a more secure, cheaper and cleaner energy future for the people of Cape Town. Apart from the City’s own build generation, strides have also been made to enabling independent power production and small-scale embedded generation. In this financial year, R15 million has been allocated to pay for energy generated by small-scale embedded generators through the feed in tariff of 75.51 c/kWh (excluding VAT) and the 25c/kWh incentive offered for small-scale embedded generators. I recently announced a policy shift allowing qualifying commercial and industrial electricity generators to sell energy to the City. The City also issued its first tender in the new Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme which entails buying 200MW from IPPs within the City’s electricity supply area.”
According to Hill-Lewis, the programme aims to achieve the city’s net-zero municipal buildings commitment by 2030, and the power plant would be expected to contribute towards this.
“There would be a significant reduction in the City’s carbon footprint if it switched from Eskom to solar-generated electricity,” he said.
The investment in construction of the Atlantis plant is expected to result in a R47.2 million gross domestic product increase.
It is also expected that this development will enhance the safety of the surrounding communities, as well as stimulate the surrounding property market.