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The City of Cape Town has issued a tender for the construction of a 7 MW solar PV plant in the suburb of Atlantis, located north of the capital city. The solar facility will be directly connected to Cape Town’s electrical network, making it the first grid-connected solar plant in the city.
The Cape Town city authority’s campaign to pull away the control of South African municipal electricity supply away from the debt-stricken national utility Eskom has prompted the launching of the tender for this grid-connected solar plant. The authorities said that the solar plant is a part of the push to widen its sources of electricity and obtain cheaper, cleaner electricity than the coal-fired grid power.
In October 2020, Dan Plato, the former mayor of Cape Town, announced the government’s intent to encourage all South African cities to turn away from state-owned Eskom and secure power supplies from independent generators instead. The current mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis has also touted several moves Cape Town is pursuing to break free from Eskom’s unreliable power.
Recently, Hill-Lewis announced that the city had allocated 15 million Rand ($847,000) for a feed-in tariff program that pays pay small-scale generators R1.01 per kWh of electricity injected into Cape Town’s power grid. The program permits commercial and industrial (C&I) solar generators to sell electricity to the city network. The city issued its first tender in the new independent power producer (IPP) program which seeks to buy 200 MW of electricity from IPPs.
“High Eskom price escalations expected in the future may not be financially sustainable for the city and its residents. It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the city’s financial sustainability as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom. Reducing the dependency on Eskom also means the city can develop and explore more climate-friendly power sources than Eskom’s coal-fired power stations,” commented Hill-Lewis.
The planned solar plant in Atlantis is expected to be operational by 2024. The Cape Town municipal government carried out the details of the recently launched EPC services tender. The EPC tender for the solar power project is due to close on October 25, 2022. After the installation, the solar plant will supply 14.7 GWh of renewable energy every year.