Sener and Acciona begin construction of Kathu solar park complex

The consortium formed by the engineering and technology group Sener and Acciona, and led by global infrastructure and renewable energy leader Acciona, has started the turnkey construction of the Kathu Solar Park Complex, after signing the contract with the consortium that owns the project, led by ENGIE, for more than €500m.

Located in the town of Kathu, in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, this project makes up part of the 2010 IRP (Integrated Resource Programme) National Electricity Plan, and will provide an increase in the country’s generation capacity until it reaches 86.8 GW in 2030, of which 24% will be renewable.

It should be noted that South Africa receives an average solar radiation of more than 2,500 hours per year and the average daily rate is between 4.5kWh/sqm and 6.5kWh/sqm, making solar energy one of the key pillars of the country’s future energy supply system.

Sener and Acciona will carry out the engineering, construction management and commissioning of the plant until its turnkey delivery. Sener is also supplying the main technology of the facility, and amongst it is the SENERtrough®-2 parabolic trough.

The 100MW plant will begin operations in 2018 and will be able to supply electricity to 80,000 homes.

The building consortium has now started construction works after performing the required basic engineering. For those works, it will use local suppliers, as the project is fully committed to the local community. Commercial operation of the plant is expected in 2018.

This is the second solar thermal project in South Africa where both companies are working together, the first being the 50 MW Bokpoort plant (Upington), recently inaugurated, and in which they also form part of the building consortium. This is also a turnkey project that uses SENERtrough® technology and a molten salt storage system.