The 100 MW Kathu parabolic trough CSP (concentrated solar power) facility, employing SENERtrough-2 technology, is expected to be operational in the second half of 2018.

The facility has been developed by an ENGIE-led consortium with SENER and ACCIONA responsible for engineering, procurement and construction services.

Construction began following the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between ENGIE and Eskom.

The plant, ENGIE’s first foray into the CSP business, will use a molten salt storage system that provides 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage, extending the operational capacity of the plant after sunset.

The consortium, in which ENGIE has a 48.5% share, also includes a group of South African investors comprising SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec, Lereko Metier and the Public Investment Corporation.

The project is funded by a mix of debt and equity. The debt is funded from a club of South African banks, namely Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank Capital, ABSA Capital, Investec and the Development Bank of South Africa.

The Kathu solar project was awarded preferred bidder status in the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) led by the South African Department of Energy.