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South African solar-plus-storage facility sets mark for continuous power

November 13, 2020

Renew Economy:

The 50MW Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in South Africa has set a new African benchmark for renewable energy, becoming the first renewable project on the African continent to complete a full week of continuous, round the clock operation.

The Saudi Arabian-based renewable energy developer ACWA Power says that the Bokpoort CSP plant achieved the new continental benchmark of 13 days, or 312 hours of continuous operation on October 23.

Round the clock operation was made possible by optimally managing 9.3-hours’ worth of thermal salt storage overnight, allowing the solar field to continue generation for 13 days.

“We take utmost pride in this record-breaking effort that successfully delivered 312 hours of continuous operations, which translate to approximately 13GWh of energy supply to the grid at an energy load factor of 83%,” said Christo Spammer, Bokpoort CSP CEO. “This is remarkable for a renewable energy facility and is equivalent to about 20 hours of full load operations daily (with a 50MW turbine) akin to base-load technologies.”

This new feat follows consistent monthly production records set by Bokpoort CSP since June 2020. The plant delivered the highest ever production for the months of August and September and has continued to deliver an excellent performance in October 2020, achieving an all-time highest daily record of 1028MWh earlier this month.”

Located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, 600-kilometres west of Johannesburg, the 50MW Bokpoort CSP Plant – which uses parabolic trough technology – was commissioned during the second bidding window of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) and has been consistently setting records since operation began in 2016.

[Joshua S Hill]

More: South Africa solar thermal project breaks continental generation record

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