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  • on 29.05.2013
  • at 05:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

First solar energy farm in North West launched 0

RustMo1 Solar Farm is a 7 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation facility located at Buffelspoort, which is 22 kilometres outside the city of Rustenburg in the North West Province. This is the first renewable energy project in the North West Province.

The project includes the installation of 11 inverters and 29,808 photovoltaic solar modules, with a step up transformer to connect to the 88kV substation. The farm will produce 244,643 MWh of energy over the 20 year contract period. RustMo1 is destined to supply power to the Eskom grid upon commencement of commercial operation, scheduled for November 2013.

Momentous Energy, a South African black-owned development company, which fulfilled the capacity as lead member and sponsor, was awarded the RustMo1 Solar Farm project by the DoE, in December 2011.

The key criteria for selecting the Buffelspoort site for a solar photovoltaic plant was the proximity and availability of the Eskom grid connection and national grid infrastructure, and the favourable insolation levels with moderate temperatures in the areas that is suitable for solar photovoltaic technologies. Rustenburg in addition has a high demand for power due to the fact that it is an area that is rich in natural resources. The site chosen for the plant also had low agricultural and commercial value.

Another key objective of the project is to facilitate necessary development and transformation in South Africa through local collaboration. The shareholders of the project include the Momentous Foundation Community Trust, Momentous Solar Farm, Momentous Technologies and Evolution One Fund – a specialised clean energy and resource efficiency investor in Southern Africa.

The plant will create much needed employment in the Rustenburg area and will also contribute to social development in the community. Up to 80% of the employees of the project will be recruited from local areas.

The Momentous Foundation Community Trust has been set up to own a 17% share of RustMo1 Solar Farm. The beneficiaries of the Trust are the local communities of Lapologang and Tsakane. The disbursements from the income to Momentous Foundation will be utilised strictly to bolster the economic development of the local areas.

Additionally, more than 1% of annual revenue will be spent on local socioeconomic development. A partnership with the local FET College has also been forged, where RustMo1 Solar Farm will sponsor students at the Orbit FET College in Rustenburg. A further key objective of the socio-economic development strategy is to contribute to skills development in the North West Province.

The RustMo1 Solar Farm project is on track to meet the planned commercial operation date of November 2013.

SourceThe Good News south Africa

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