There are multiple renewable energy power plants in operation across South Africa which support Eskom in providing electricity to the national grid.
These stations form part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPP), aimed at decreasing the country’s reliance on fuel-based generation over the next decade.
Government has opened up bidding for more than 11,800MW of power to be procured from IPPs, including renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal.
While much of this capacity is due to only come online in the next few years, Eskom’s online data portal shows that it has already installed renewable generation capacity of around 5,350MW, the majority of which is provided by IPPs.
Wind energy generation capacity accounts for more than half of this — 2,612.7MW — with only 100MW being from Eskom’s own Sere Wind Farm project.
Private photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants provide a further 2,211.1MW of capacity, while concentrated solar power (CSP) plants contributed the remaining 500MW.
Although this capacity might appear significant when looking at South Africa’s typical demand of around 30,000MW during the winter period, it should be emphasised that these plants are not always capable of performing at full capacity.
South Africa’s peak periods are typically in the early evenings or mornings, when there is not enough sun around for PV solar to sufficiently support the grid.
This means that South Africa still has to rely heavily on coal and gas stations to rapidly spin up generation at these critical times.
Nevertheless, recent updates from Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshasha have highlighted how wind and CSP solar — which has the benefit of power storage for later use — either helped the utility to avoid load-shedding or lower the required load-shedding stages during evening peak hours.
The table below shows how much power was provided by renewable energy generation over the course of a week in May and June at evening peak times.
|Evening peak generation from renewables|
|Date||Concentrated Solar Power||Wind Power||Total contribution|
|Sunday 30 May 2021||182MW||488MW||670MW|
|Monday 31 May 2021||226MW||605MW||831MW|
|Tuesday 1 June 2021||333MW||539MW||872MW|
|Wednesday 2 June 2021||299MW||1,174MW||1,473MW|
|Thursday 3 June 2021||148MW||710MW||858MW|
|Friday 4 June 2021||254MW||337MW||591MW|
|Saturday 5 June 2021||307MW||775MW||1,082MW|
|Average for week||250MW||661MW||911MW|
The Department of Energy’s Independent Power Producer (IPP) Projects website shows that there are currently 77 renewable energy projects in operation in the country.
While most of these are solar PV plants, the top 11 plants by capacity are onshore wind farms in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape.
The largest wind farm by capacity is Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility in the Northern Cape, with a maximum output of 138.96MW.
Next up is the Nxuba Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape with 138.9MW capacity, followed by the Loeriesfontein 2 Wind Farm in the Northern Cape, with 138.2MW capacity.
The remaining large wind farms on the list ranged in output from 107.76MWMW to 137MW.
Below are photos of the top three largest private wind farms in the country.
Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility
Nxuba Wind Farm
Loeriesfontein Wind Farm 2
The other major contributors to the current renewable energy generation during load-shedding are CSP plants – four of which have 100MW capacity each.
These four are all located in the Northern Cape, and can provide a minimum of three hours of power storage for when the sun is not shining.
Near Pofadder are the Xina Solar One and Kaxu Solar One plants, while the Ilanga CSP 1 and Kathu Solar Parks are located near Upington and Kathu, respectively.
Below are photos of these CSP plants.
Kathu Solar Power Plant
Ilanga CSP 1
Xina Solar One
The full list
The largest individual solar PV plant projects feeding power into the grid provide 75MW of capacity each.
Eskom’s latest renewable generation data showed solar plants typically produce more than 1,500MW at their peak during the winter.
While they have excellent output throughout the day, their contribution to the total energy mix drops off when the sun sets, as they have no battery storage.
The remaining renewable energy types on the IPP database were two small hydro plants and one landfill gas plant.
The table below lists the private power plants which were in commercial operation as of Sunday 6 June 2021, according to the Department of Energy’s IPP Projects Database.
|Operational private renewable energy plants in South Africa|
|Project name||Generation type||Capacity||Province||Nearest town/city|
|Longyuan Mulilo Green Energy De Aar 2 North Wind Energy Facility||Onshore Wind||138.96MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|The Nxuba Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||138.9MW||Eastern Cape||Cookhouse|
|Loeriesfontein 2||Onshore Wind||138.23MW||Northern Cape||Loeriesfontein|
|Khobab Wind||Onshore Wind||137.74MW||Northern Cape||Loeriesfontein|
|Kangnas||Onshore Wind||136.7MW||Northern Cape||Springbok|
|Cookhouse Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||135.8MW||Eastern Cape||Cookhouse|
|Gouda Wind Project||Onshore Wind||135.5MW||Western Cape||Gouda|
|Jeffreys Bay||Onshore Wind||135.11MW||Eastern Cape||Jeffrey’s Bay|
|Amakhala Wind Project||Onshore Wind||131.05MW||Eastern Cape||Bedford|
|Red Cap – Gibson Bay||Onshore Wind||108.25MW||Eastern Cape||Humansdorp|
|Perdekraal East||Onshore Wind||107.76MW||Western Cape||Touwsrivier|
|XiNa Solar One||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||100MW||Northern Cape||Pofadder|
|Ilanga CSP 1 / Karooshoek Solar One||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||100MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|Kathu Solar Park||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||100MW||Northern Cape||Kathu|
|Kaxu Solar One||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||100MW||Northern Cape||Pofadder|
|Dorper Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||97.53MW||Eastern Cape||Molteno|
|Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Maanhaarberg Wind Energy Facility||Onshore Wind||96.48MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||93.68MW||Eastern Cape||Clarkson|
|Wind Farm West Coast 1||Onshore Wind||90.82MW||Western Cape||Vredenburg|
|Nojoli Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||86.6MW||Eastern Cape||Cookhouse|
|Noupoort Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||79.05MW||Northern Cape||Noupoort|
|Kouga Red Cap Wind Farm – Oyster Bay||Onshore Wind||77.7MW||Eastern Cape||Humansdorp|
|Adams Solar PV 2||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||75MW||Northern Cape||Hotazel|
|Dyason’s Klip 1||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|Dyason’s Klip 2||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|Jasper Power Company||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||75MW||Northern Cape||Postmasburg|
|Kathu Solar Plant||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Kathu|
|Konkoonsies II Solar Facility||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Pofadder|
|Matla A Bokone Solar||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Kimberley|
|Mulilo Prieska PV||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Copperton|
|Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||75MW||Northern Cape||Copperton|
|Paleisheuwel||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||75MW||Western Cape||Clanwilliam|
|Pulida Solar Park||Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed||75MW||Free State||Jacobsdal|
|Sirius Solar PV Project One||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||75MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|Solar Capital De Aar||Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed||75MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|Solar Capital De Aar 3||Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed||75MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|Waterloo Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||75MW||North West||Vryburg|
|Zeerust||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||75MW||North West||Ramotshere Moiloa|
|Sishen Solar Facility||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||74MW||Northern Cape||Kathu|
|Nobelsfontein Phase 1||Onshore Wind||73.8MW||Northern Cape||Victoria West|
|Kalkbult||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||72.4MW||Northern Cape||Phillipstown|
|Dreunberg||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||69.6MW||Eastern Cape||Burgersdorp|
|Bokamoso||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||67.9MW||North West||Matlosana|
|Hopefield Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||65.4MW||Western Cape||Hopefield|
|Lesedi Power Company||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||64MW||Northern Cape||Postmasburg|
|Letsatsi Power Company||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||64MW||Free State||Bloemfontein|
|Tom Burker Solar Park||Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed||60MW||Limpopo||Ellisras|
|Grassridge Onshore Wind Project||Onshore Wind||59.8MW||Eastern Cape||Coega|
|Boshoff Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||57MW||Free State||Boshof|
|Bokpoort CSP project||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||50MW||Northern Cape||Groblershoop|
|De Wildt||Photovoltaic Crystalline – Single Axis||50MW||North West||Brits|
|Khi Solar One||Concentrated Solar Power with storage (min 3 hrs per day)||50MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|South African Mainstream Renewable Power De Aar PV RF (Pty) Ltd||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||45.6MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|South African Mainstream Renewable Power Droogfontein (RF) (Pty) Ltd||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||45.4MW||Northern Cape||Kimberley|
|Aggeneys Solar Project||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||40MW||Northern Cape||Aggeneys|
|Linde||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||36.8v||Northern Cape||Hanover|
|Touwsrivier Project||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Dual Axis||36MW||Western Cape||Touwsrivier|
|Witkop Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||29.68MW||Limpopo||Polokwane|
|Soutpan Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||27.94MW||Limpopo||Dendron|
|Dassieklip Wind Energy Facility||Onshore Wind||27MW||Western Cape||Caledon|
|Metrowind Van Stadens Wind Farm||Onshore Wind||27MW||Eastern Cape||Port Elizabeth|
|Waainek Wind Power||Onshore Wind||23.28MW||Eastern Cape||Grahamstown|
|Chaba Wind Power||Onshore Wind||21MW||Eastern Cape||Komga|
|Herbert PV Power Plant||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||19.9MW||Northern Cape||Douglas|
|Mulilo Solar PV Prieska||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||19.12MW||Northern Cape||Copperton|
|Mulilo Solar PV De Aar||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||10MW||Northern Cape||De Aar|
|Neusberg Hydro Electrical Project||Small Hydro||10MW||Northern Cape||Kakamas|
|Greefspan PV Power Plant||Photovoltaic Crystalline- Single Axis||9.9MW||Northern Cape||Douglas|
|Aries Solar Energy Facility||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||9.65MW||Northern Cape||Kenhardt|
|Konkoonsies Solar Energy Facility||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||9.65MW||Northern Cape||Pofadder|
|Aurora-Rietvlei Solar Power||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||8.9MW||Western Cape||Aurora|
|Upington Airport||Photovoltaic Thin Film Fixed||8.9MW||Northern Cape||Upington|
|Vredendal Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||8.8MW||Western Cape||Vredendal|
|Joburg Landfill Gas to Electricity||Landfill Gas||7.56MW||Gauteng||Braamfontein|
|RustMo1 Solar Farm||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||6.93MW||North West||Rustenburg|
|Slimsun Swartland Solar Park||Photovoltaic Crystalline Fixed||5MW||Western Cape||Malmesbury|
|Stortemelk Power Plant||Small Hydro||4.22MW||Free State||Clarens|