South Africa’s Redstone Concentrated Solar plant should be complete by 2024

  • The Redstone Concentrated Solar Plant is located between Tsanstabane and Kgatelopele in the Northern Cape.
  • Construction is currently at 45.5 percent completion.
  • Once complete the solar plant will contribute 100MW to the national grid.

This morning we were incredibly excited to learn that South Africa is constructing a concentrated solar plant.

These power plants feature mirrors or lenses (or rather heliostats) which focus sunlight from a wide area into a single point. This energy is then used to heat an engine such as a turbine which is then connected to an electrical power generator. You’ve likely seen one of these arrays in movies or TV series before.

As mentioned, South Africa is getting its own concentrated solar plant – the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power. Situated between Tsanstabane and Kgatelopele in the Northern Cape, the solar power plant is expected to be complete by 2023. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to visit the plant this week as part of the build-up to the Presidential Imbizo in Upington this week.

Once complete the power plant will supply 400 000 citizens with electricity. According to SA News, the plant will be operational in early 2024. Infrastructure South Africa says that the project is currently 45.5 percent complete.

The plant is comprised of four key components namely the solar field, the molten salt receiver, thermal energy storage and the connection to the grid.

The solar field is a set of heliostats that track the sun and beam the light toward the molten salt receiver sitting at the top of a 250m tall tower. The solar radiation collected here is converted into thermal energy.

Says government, this project will eliminate 480 Kilotons of carbon dioxide emissions every year and use less than 200 000 cubic metres of water per annum.

The power plant is being constructed by ACWA Power which appears to be headquartered in Saudi Arabia. The firm develops, invests in and operates power generation and desalination plants with “67 assets in operation, construction or advanced development across 13 countries.”

When complete, the power plant is expected to contribute 100MW of renewable energy to the grid.

Government goes on to say that over the lifetime of this project (which is around 20 years) R575 million will be spent on “socio-economic development programmes.” It’s unclear if this is included in the recent investment into the country announced by Saudi Arabia.

While this single solar plant likely won’t have a massive impact on Eskom’s generation woes, every bit helps and we’re excited to see more projects like this that generate renewable energy in creative ways.

[Image – CC BY SA 2.0 Ken Lund]


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