The Lephalale solar project, with a capacity of 68 MW, has reached a financial close to providing renewable energy to the Grootegeluk coal mine in Limpopo.
Cennergi, a subsidiary of Exxaro Resources, the owner and operator of Grootegeluk, will supply renewable energy to the mine for 25 years through a power purchase agreement. This initiative will bring cost savings, energy security, and decarbonization benefits to Exxaro, while also promoting sustainable development and socioeconomic advantages for local communities.
Exxaro’s decision to utilize solar power for Grootegeluk’s energy requirements aligns with its commitment to business sustainability and supporting the transition to green energy. The funding for the project will be secured through a combination of limited recourse project finance debt provided by lenders and equity investment from Cennergi.
The construction phase, expected to take 19 months, will involve the awarding of an engineering, procurement, and construction contract, along with an operations and maintenance contract. Dr Nombasa Tsengwa, CEO of Exxaro, expressed that this project is a significant milestone in South Africa’s renewable energy landscape, showcasing the potential of clean energy to drive economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.
Situated on 236 hectares of Exxaro land near Eskom’s Matimba coal-fired power station and the town of Marapong, the Lephalale solar project will serve as a direct clean energy source for the region. Exxaro Resources MD energy, Leon Groenewald, enthusiastically described this solar project as a groundbreaking renewable energy partnership.