Huge solar plant starts construction in the Free State

 ·21 Feb 2024

Teraco, a data centre provider, is starting construction on a massive solar PV plant in the Free State.

The group announced it had secured its first grid capacity allocation from Eskom and will start construction on a 120MW utility-scale solar PV plant.

Teraco will connect the system to the national electrical grid and wheel across Eskom and municipal power networks.

Wheeling allows generators in outlying areas to use existing transmission and distribution systems to distribute electricity to end-users located in urban areas.

“This allocation is a significant step towards meeting our renewable energy ambitions and those of our clients. It is also only the first phase of our longer-term renewable energy commitment,” said Jan Hnizdo, CEO at Teraco.

“We have been on a long journey over the last few years to obtain these approvals, and our aim now is to execute quickly on the opportunity.”

“In South Africa, we have various energy challenges, and this presents an incredible opportunity to meet our near-term renewable energy goals while adding additional power capacity to a generation-constrained grid.”

“South Africa’s solar resource is a source of competitive advantage for data centres relative to other locations.”

When fully operational, the 120MW solar plant is expected to produce over 338,000 MWh annually.

“In addition to this project, over the past two years, Teraco has deployed approximately 6MW of roof-top solar integrated into its facilities, and this amount is to be increased to 10MW as new facilities become operational,” said Bryce Allan, Head of Sustainability at Teraco.

JUWI Renewable Energies South Africa and Subsolar are working with Teraco to develop the 120 solar PV plant, with JUWI appointed to design and manage the procurement, construction, and commissioning.

Teraco has also used a green loan to finance the plant’s construction.

Teraco’s JB2 facility in Isando already features extensive solar panels. Source: Teraco

Read: The big hope for solar in South Africa

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