South Africa's KaXu Solar One project is the first large-scale concentrated solar power plant with storage developed by the private sector operating in an emerging market. The project is also a first for the town of Pofadder in the Northern Cape Province, where the plant started operating in early 2015, moving South Africa towards a clean energy future that also has the potential to bring economic development, including the creation of 4,500 temporary and 80 permanent jobs.
About the Project
The plant uses parabolic mirrors to reflect and concentrate the sun’s rays to produce heat, which then generates steam that powers turbines and produces electricity. Energy storage allows the plant to produce firm, base-load electricity even when the sun is not shining, offering a remarkable low-carbon solution to a growing African economy.
South Africa is currently the 12th highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world because of its reliance on coal-driven power stations. This project supplies the equivalent of 80,000 homes with clean energy while offsetting 315,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, contributing towards South Africa's goal of generating up to 17,800 MW of renewable energy by 2030 to reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas resources.
Funding for KaXu was coordinated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, which provided direct financing of $143m for two CSP projects in SA — including KaXu Solar One — and the 50MW Khi Solar One project, the first solar tower plant on the continent. The Climate Investment Funds' Clean Technology Fund invested $42.5 million to support South Africa's sustainable energy acceleration program and to demonstrate different models of private sector participation in the energy sector.