On 28 May 2014, in Johannesburg, SolarReserve announced that two 75-megawatt solar photovoltaic projects have completed construction and are fully operational, successfully helping to power the EskoM South African electric grid with renewable energy.
The two projects, Lesedi and Letsatsi, total 150 MW-DC of installed capacity, which are capable of powering more than 130,000 South African homes with clean energy and have provided the region with significant economic benefits. As mandated under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the projects set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities.
SolarReserve's CEO, Kevin Smith, made the statement: "The social and economic benefits that these projects are imparting in South Africa today demonstrate the positive results of close cooperation between the U.S. and South African governments along with private companies in each nation [...] We look forward to continuing this positive momentum through collaboration on further projects, including concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plants, featuring SolarReserve's industry leading CSP technology with integrated energy storage. Our upcoming CSP projects will provide South Africa with clean, reliable and non-intermittent electricity, day and night."
The projects were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), GCL Poly Energy Holdings and Intikon Energy. Rand Merchant Bank, the investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank Limited, acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for the projects' debt funding requirements.
The two projects have each executed 20-year power purchase agreements with Eskom, the South African power utility company ranked as one of the top 20 utilities in the world by power generation. The new development is hoped to help South Africa lead the way in renewable energy and has boosted the economy as well as garnered ties with the American energy industry.