A new solar power plant has recently been launched in the Northern Cape, close to Upington. It is said that this plant would be able to create 100MW of energy and supply this to about 100 000 households. The Karoshoek Solar One project as it is aptly named, is part of the goverment’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and will assist when Eskom is forced to institute load-shedding as a result of it’s underfire coal stations.
Unlike a traditional solar photovoltaic (PV) system, the Karoshoek facility is based on concentrated solar plant (CSP) technology, which requires no coal or any other excess waste products. How it works is, several parabolic mirrors will focus the heat and energy from the sun, into a huge collector which holds thermal fluid. This thermal fluid, as with traditional coal stations, powers a turbine using this heat, which it is able to retain for several hours. Meaning that this plant is able to generate electricity even when the sun goes down.
There has been increasingly loud and persistent calls for the government to seriously start looking into renewable energy, and it would appear as though the call is being headed. Through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, the government aims at killing two birds with one stone, that is, making sure that we avoid load-shedding and more importantly, creating job employment opportunities and economic growth.