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Engie Acquires Stake in Xina Solar One CSP Plant in South Africa


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French utility company Engie has completed the acquisition of the indirect stake held by Abengoa in the Xina Solar One project in South Africa. With this acquisition, Engie will now hold a 40% equity stake in the 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant as well as 46% of Xina Operations & Maintenance Company. 

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Located in Pofadder in the Northern Cape province of the country, the Xina Solar One plant provides clean, sustainable, and dispatchable energy to 95,000 plus South African houses. This acquisition brings the total installed capacity of Engie in South Africa to 1,320MW. 

Mohamed Hoosen, Engie MD – Renewables: Asia, Middle East & Africa, said “The acquisition of Xina Solar One supports our 2045 net-zero carbon ambitions by contributing to a global target of 50GW of installed renewable capacity by 2025 and 80GW by 2030.”

The other shareholders on Xina Solar One are South Africa-based development finance group Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), pension fund and asset manager Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and Xina Community Trust, having the rest 60% stake equally divided among them.

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Javier Payan, the Chief Financial Officer of Abengoa South Africa, commented: “Abengoa along with the other partners IDC, PIC, and the Community Trust are extremely proud of the technical achievements at Xina Solar One and considers Engie’s commitment the best fit for a long-term investor in South Africa.”

The acquisition enables Engie to become one of the largest independent power producers operating in South Africa with a portfolio consisting of various clean energy plants commissioned in recent years.

Desnei Leaf-Camp, CEO of Xina Solar One, said: “Through this acquisition, Engie is pleased to reinforce its commitment to be a reliable, responsible, and ethical long-term investor in South Africa’s electricity supply industry. The partnership with Abengoa will deepen our ability to expand local skills and expertise in solar thermal generation.”

In South Africa, Engie also has stakes in the 100MW Kathu CSP plant in Northern Cape, two solar PV plants equaling 21MW, 94MW Aurora wind farm in Western Cape, and two thermal power peaking plants (670MW Avon and 335MW Dedisa) in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

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The Xina Solar One CSP plant started commercial operation in August 2017. It is one of the country’s first solar thermal power plants designed with thermal storage, preventing nearly 348,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

The plant uses parabolic trogh technology incorporating U-shaped mirrors to focus the thermal energy received from the sun onto a receiver. The thermal energy storage system uses molten salts that allow the storage of necessary energy for 5.5 hours to provide reliable electricity during peak demand in South Africa. The electricity produced is sold to public-utility Eskom under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

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