Abengoa, an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment, has begun commercial operation of Khi Solar OOne, the first solar thermal power technology operating in Africa. The thermosolar plant is located near Upington in the Northern Cape province.
The solar field covering 300 hectares, with about 4.000 heliostats art, has an installed capacity of 50 MW and will supply 45.000 households.
Abengoa, which has built the plant and is responsible for operation and maintenance, owns 51% of the project.
This project, a public-private initiative, was awarded by the Department of Energy of South Africa and supply clean and reliable electricity to Eskom, the South African electricity company, under a power purchase agreement with a duration of 20 years.
Khi Solar One is a plant of solar thermal tower technology superheated steam, the first with these characteristics; where bcb as engineering technology, has participated developing, installing and implementing various systems, using innovative techniques of computer vision, image processing, communications and infrared thermography.
The plant has a storage system that can produce at maximum power for about two hours without sun, which is a key contribution to electricity production in the region stability. In addition, Khi Solar One incorporates an innovative system of dry cooling, which reduces the consumption of water, a scarce commodity in the area where the plant is located; and other improvements significant result of the important work done by Abengoa in the development of solar thermal technology.
This project offers numerous environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Its operation reduces the emission of 183.000 tonnes of CO2, providing the energy needed to meet the growing South African electricity demand in a sustainable manner.
The project is part of the South African government`s plan to meet in order to collect up to 17.800 MW of renewable energy by 2030 and reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas.