Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power signed an investment agreement with Central Energy Fund (CEF) of South Africa for a 100-megawatt (MW) solar power project, the company announced Friday.
"The agreement establishes the framework for both entities to co-invest in renewable energy projects the first of which will be the 100MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant in the country's Northern Cape Province," ACWA Power said in a press release.
The construction is scheduled to begin later this year, and the plant will supply power to 210,000 South African homes "even during evening peak demand periods" once operational.
According to the statement, the CSP plant will feature solar energy storage technology that will allow solar energy to be utilized to generate electricity not only when the sun is shining but also through the night cumulatively dispatching 480,000 megawatt-hours per year.
"The CSP plant will use a central salt receiver technology with 12 hours of thermal storage allowing the plant to generate during the evening peak demand periods," it said.
In addition, while photovoltaics (PV) or wind cannot serve the evening peak unless they are linked with utility scale batteries which are "extremely expensive", the CSP Central Tower solution will in comparison "generate cost competitively more than double the MWh output of electrical energy per the rated MW capacity," it stated.
Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive officer of ACWA Power, said the plant would employ the dry cooling option "thus minimizing water use, which also makes it one of the most appealing renewable energy options available in the world".
ACWA Power is a leading Saudi Arabian developer, owner, and operator of power generation and water desalination plants.
CEF Group is a state-owned national energy utility entity with a focus on oil, gas, coal and renewable and clean energy options reporting to the South African Department Of Energy as its primary shareholder.
By Hale Turkes