The SOLA Group has committed to set up 40 MW of solar projects in Southern Africa. It has secured 400 million Rand (R) ($26.28 million) to build commercial and industrial solar PV facilities across Southern Africa. The renewable energy fund, called Orionis, will enable 40 MW of solar PV projects to be built without capital expenditure by the electricity off-takers.
The deal is the result of a partnership between the SOLA Group, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), and Nedbank Energy Finance, who have partnered to provide affordable solar PV solutions for businesses that are in dire need of electricity security.
Chris Haw, the chairperson of the SOLA Group, believes that the clean energy solutions created by the fund are timely. “This partnership brings together three highly experienced entities whose combined skills offer consumers clean energy solutions at a time when our country desperately needs it,” he said.
According to the company’s release, the future pipeline already includes 15 MW of solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), including several breweries and other industrial facilities around South Africa. The consumers pay for their clean energy directly, through a PPA tariff that is typically 20% lower than their municipal provider’s rates.
The financed model will allow sectors focused on short-term cost reductions in their Opex (operational expenditure) budgets, such as FMCG companies, the opportunity to tap into solar power. This will allow reductions in operating costs and in carbon emissions, which are generally very important to industrial sectors.
“The model of electricity generation that incorporates both centralized and distributed electricity will improve the ability for South Africa to meet energy demand, reduce electricity costs and strengthen resilience to outages,” added Haw.
In June 2019, the Kingdom of Eswatini in southern Africa had issued a request for qualification (RfQ) for 40 MW of ground-mounted solar projects.
A few months ago, the World Bank approved a fund of $150 million and another $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund to help increase off-grid electricity access for people in West Africa and Sahel regions. The project is expected to benefit about 1.7 million people currently living without electricity connection or with unreliable supply, as well as businesses and public institutions who will use modern standalone solar systems to improve their living standards and economic activities.
Image credit: SOLA Group
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.