ACWA Power solar plant sets electricity record

ACWA Power solar plant sets electricity record

A South African solar plant operated by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power has set a new African record for the continuous supply of electricity.

The newly introduced 50MW Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power plant has generated electricity for a constant period of 161 hours, equal to almost six days within the first month of operation.

Located in Grobershoop in the Northern Cape, the plant’s optimised performance was heightened by its 1300MWh molten salt energy storage facility which produces 9.3 hours of thermal storage, the highest in all of Africa.

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA said: “Round the clock electricity supply from a solar power plant is not only a significant milestone for ACWA Power, but for South Africa and the renewables industry.”

“Globally the biggest challenge of CSP has been its ability to produce energy consistently long after sunset,” Nandu Bhula, CEO of Bokpoort CSP plant explained. “The performance of this plant is a clear indication that CSP technology can be used as a base-load capacity option in the same way as conventional power plants.”

South Africa’s daily evening peak demand is from 5pm to 9pm and the new CSP Peak tariff means that operators are encouraged to have thermal storage capacity.

ACWA Power’s next venture will be the 100MW Redstone CSP plant which is anticipated to start construction this year. It will offer 12 hours of storage capacity from the latest modernisations in thermal storage technology.