South Africa’s two new massive solar power plants

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) recently announced that it had invested R22 billion in two South African solar power stations.

Reuters reported that the state-owned PIC had taken 20 percent stakes in the Ilanga and Xina solar plants in the Northern Cape.

These two solar plants are expected to produce 100MW each, using solar thermal electricity power.

Xina Solar One

Xina Solar One is a 100MW parabolic trough plant, with a five-hour thermal energy storage system.

The plant will use molten salts that enable the plant to meet evening peak demand, when there is no sun.

In a parabolic trough plant, a set of parabolic-shaped mirrors is set on a structure so they can track the movement of the sun and concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tube.

Inside the tube, a heat-absorbing fluid flows and transfers the thermal energy to water which is turned into steam. The steam then drives a turbine to generate electricity.

Xina Solar One will be located close to Pofadder, next to KaXu Solar One, and will provide enough energy to Eskom to serve more than 95,000 households.

Xina Solar One
Xina Solar One

Ilanga solar power plant

The Ilanga solar power plant is a 100MW concentrating solar power plant with storage in-line with the specifications of South Africa’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme.

Like Xina Solar One, Ilanga is a 100MW parabolic trough plant with a thermal energy storage system.

The solar plant is located approximately 30km east of Upington, and will form part of the Karoshoek Solar Thermal Park.

Karoshoek solar power
Karoshoek solar power

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South Africa’s two new massive solar power plants