South Africa’s Department of Energy has awarded preferred bidder status for two large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to consortia led by SolarReserve and GDF Suez.

Alongside its South African partners, GDF Suez is proposing the construction of the 100 MW Greenfield Kathu solar park in Northern Cape Province, 600 km south-west of Pretoria.

Meanwhile SolarReserve, together with ACWA Power, wants to develop the 100 MW Redstone CSP project, near Kimberly in Northern Cape province.

The Kathu solar park will use parabolic trough technology and molten salt energy storage. The GDF Suez consortium will now negotiate over terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Eskom and other contractual elements of the project.

The Redstone CSP plant will be based on solar tower technology and use SolarReserve’s molten salt energy storage technology with 12 hours of full-load energy storage.

According to SolarReserve, the Redstone project had the lowest tariff bid to date of any CSP project in South Africa, and is scheduled to achieve financial close in 2015 and start operating in 2018.