Global Processing

ABB to supply electrical, control systems for South African photovoltaic power plant

May 13, 2013
solar power
The Kathu PV power plant is among the first tranche of projects to be awarded as part of South Africa’s renewable energy program.

Power and automation technology group ABB has won an order worth around $25 million to supply electrical and control systems for a new 75 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Owned by South African construction company WBHO, and Building Energy, an Italian renewable energy developer and operator, the plant is located in the Kalahari Desert close to the town of Kathu and to Sishen, one of the largest open-pit iron ore mines in the world.

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The Kathu PV power plant is among the first tranche of projects to be awarded as part of South Africa’s renewable energy program, which aims to diversify the country’s energy mix and reduce its carbon footprint. Once completed in 2014, it is expected to be one of the world’s largest PV power plants with a single-axis tracking system. It will have the capacity to generate around 146 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean solar power to feed into the national grid -- enough to meet the needs of over 40,000 people based on average national per capita consumption and displacing the equivalent of about 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

“Renewable energy sources such as solar have a key role to play in meeting the growing demand for electricity while minimizing environmental impact,” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We have a strong track record in delivering turnkey power and automation solutions that are optimizing photovoltaic power plants all over the world.”