Renewable energy provider SOLA Group has secured US $26m to construct industrial and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities in South Africa. The company aims to build 40MW of solar PV projects using the funds without capital expenditure (capex) by electricity off-takers.
SOLA has partnered with Nedbank Energy Finance and African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) as they aim to provide solar PV solutions for businesses in need of electricity security. “The partnership brings together experienced entities whose combined efforts could bring huge value to clean energy consumers at a time when our country is desperately in need of it,” said SOLA Group Chairperson Chris Haw.
“The private sector plays a vital role in electricity infrastructure and contribution of energy to the National grid therefore the need to invest in it,” he added. In addition, SOLA has already signed 15MW of solar PV projects through the fund including breweries and other industrial facilities in South Africa.
Lower rates for consumers
Consumers will pay 20% lower rates compared to the state-owned Eskom or the Municipal council providers. Haw further explained that the electricity generation method incorporated both distributed and centralized electricity in order to improve the ability of the country in meeting its energy demands and also reduce electricity costs and outages. This comes after Eskom announced US $1.3bn loss in the 2019 financial year with the Finance Minister also announcing US $3.8bn support package for the utility over the next two years.
Moreover, Haw said funding the projects will enable industrial access to clean and cheaper power, therefore, freeing up capex for investment in their core business. Earlier this year South Africa’s National Energy Regulator was granted permission to license small-scale projects of between 1MW and 10MW in size before the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) is finalized. This has enabled flexible electricity generation and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.