AIIM Acquires Majority Stakes in Three South African Solar Power Plants


The African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) have announced acquiring majority stakes in three solar PV power plants in South Africa. The private equity fund manager has acquired the stakes in the solar plants through its IDEAS Managed Fund.


The solar projects will provide clean electricity for the operations of Harmony, a Johannesburg-based mining company. The plants will be connected through a combination of wheeling and behind the meter solutions, and supply Harmony’s operations in the Welkom area located in the Free State.


The construction of the solar power plants is being implemented by BB Energy and Energy Group. With a combined capacity of 30 MWp, the plants are expected to start commercial operation in April 2023. They have already reached a financial close in May 2022. 


AIIM is on the path of expanding its energy infrastructure portfolio in Southern Africa. According to the fund manager, these power facilities once fully operational are expected to deliver 68 GWh of clean energy in the first year of operations and nearly 1.3 TWh over their 20-year lifespan. The renewable energy plants will mitigate around 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

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The solar plants are financed by a combination of debt and equity. The debt part is provided by the Rand Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FirstRand Bank (RMB) whereas the equity is invested by IDEAS and the Mahlako Energy Fund 1, managed by Mahlako Financial Services. 

Sean Friend, the Chief Investment Officer at AIIM and Co-Portfolio Manager of the IDEAS fund, said, “Together with our partner Mahlako, we are delighted to conclude this transaction and create a lasting partnership with Harmony. This portfolio reinforces Ideas’ position as a leading investor in the renewable energy sector, and in the C&I market in particular. We look forward to pursuing additional investments in this sector, in light of the focus on clean energy and the need to pursue a sustainable energy mix for SA.”

AIIM has carried out the investment in the C&I solar projects through the Ideas Managed Fund, an investment fund dedicated to economic, social, and clean energy infrastructure in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. 

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One of the AIIM affiliates, African Clean Energy Developments (ACED), is responsible for the development and management services of the independent power producer (IPP). ACED will also manage the construction process. another AIIM affiliate, Energy Infrastructure Management Services (EIMS), will manage the operations once the solar projects reach their commencement date. 

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