- South Africa: the Bokamoso Solar plant, situated near Leeudoringstad, in the North West Province, has commenced its commercial operations.
- This solar PV power plant and several others currently under construction, have put the North West on the map as a player in the renewable energy sector, to not only deliver additional power to the country’s national grid, but also benefit the rural communities through impactful economic development programmes.
- Bokamoso Solar is 100% South African owned, a significant differentiate and proof that the green power sector is an attractive option for local investors.
The 67.9 MW Bokamoso Solar is currently the largest solar PV power project in the Province, with 236 580 solar panels harnessing the intense North West sun. The solar plant has begun generating 177 660 MWh of much-needed green electricity each year, which is enough to satisfy the needs of around 30 000 average South African households.
The solar PV power plant, which commenced construction in November 2018, is constructed on a 150-hectare project site.
Over 450 people from the local beneficiary communities were directly employed on the project during construction. This is in addition to the employment created through the contracting out of various services.
During its 20-year operations the project will benefit a large number of communities, spread within a 50km radius of the project site, through various Economic Development programmes. Bokamoso Solar’s Socio-Economic Development projects will be focused on education, youth development, health, food security and welfare. The programmes have been chosen following research and engagement to ensure that the they are well informed and will strengthen the beneficiary communities.
Additionally, a percentage of the revenue generated each year will be committed to implementing Enterprise Development initiatives, to build resilience and accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial businesses, ultimately stimulating the local economic growth and creating opportunities for the economic participation of previously disadvantaged groups. The focus is on small and micro enterprises, designed to enhance growth. To deliver on this objective, the establishment of a local resource centre, for use by local SMMEs and communities at large, will support this drive to support development, whilst the provision of accredited skills training will be provided to start-up businesses.
Bokamoso Solar is owned by IDEAS Fund managed by Old Mutual (SA) Ltd, Reatile Solar Power (RF) (Pty) Ltd, Phakwe Solar (RF) (Pty) Ltd, Business Venture Investments 1984 (Pty) Ltd and Cicada Community Trust.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal