Another milestone for Kathu Solar Park

Mynbou & Nywerheid / Mining & Industry

The Kathu Solar Park (KSP), which is under construction outside of Kathu, celebrated another milestone with the installation of the first Solar Collector Assemblies (SCAs) on 14 April 2017.
As opposed to photovoltaic units, the CSP plant harvests heat from the sun using mirrors, then that heat is projected on to horizontally positioned oil-filled tubes at the centre of the SCAs. The oil is used to transport the heat to make steam and electricity or is stored in massive batteries where the energy can be released in the evenings - when the power demand in South Africa is at its maximum.
The plant includes a 4.5 square kilometre solar field which is used to harvest the heat from the South Afri-can sun to produce electricity. The solar field will be filled with 12 000 SCAs - each of which is 6.8 metres wide, 13.2 metres long and sits 3.8
metres off the ground. The SCAs weigh in at 2600 kgs each. All together, the SCAs have a total mirror area of over 1.1-million square metres of mirror surface.
The plant which has been under construction since May of last year, is being constructed by Liciastar (Pty) Ltd - a consortium of companies SENER and Acciona - two large Spanish engineering, procuring and construction (EPC) contractors for KSP which is a consortium headed by the French renewable energy company ENGIE.
All the SCAs are assembled on site in a factory which has been purpose-built for this. The factory takes the glass mirrors, steel parts and the torque tubes (which are fabricated in Gauteng) and produces an SCA. The factory will eventually have the capability to produce over 100 SCAs per day, operating in two shifts.
The Kathu Solar Park is currently
employing 1400 persons for the construction phase and approximately 50% of them are from the local JTG community.
The Project Director of Construction and Engineering for KSP, Mark Janick, said “The installation of the mirrors at the site is another step forward for the project. We as the owner, are tremendously proud of all the work performed on the site to this point. “
This is a challenging project being executed under difficult conditions, but our team - especially the local workers - have risen to the challenge. We look forward to continued progress towards delivering this significant project and continued work with the local community to accomplish our shared goals.”
KSP will be in operation late next year and will supply enough power to power approximately 150 000 households.