The 78 MW Bokamoso Solar Park situated near Leeudoringstad in the North West Province, has reached full grid code compliance, commenced commercial operations, and has been handed over to the operations & maintenance team, reports Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor juwi Renewable Energies (“juwi”).
Supplying 67.9MW AC (78 MW DC) off 236,580 solar panels, Bokamoso Solar Park is generating 177,660MWh electricity into the ESKOM grid, sufficient to fulfil the electricity requirements of approximately 30,000 households.
The project sponsors and equity investors are African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) through its IDEAS Fund, Phakwe Group, Reatile Group and AREP.
Bokamoso is the second of the three projects totalling 250 MW, that juwi was awarded in 2018, to reach completion. AIIM’s 86 MW Droogfontein 2 Solar Park was the first project to reach full operation in February 2020, while their 86 MW Waterloo Solar Park situated near Vryburg in the North West Province is currently nearing completion.
“We are delighted to have achieved this major project milestone, and to complete the second project in the portfolio of three Round 4 projects juwi is constructing for AIIM. Congratulations to the project team, who together with our various partners, the sponsors and shareholders have done a truly excellent job.
“We are also looking ahead and excited about the next steps in the upcoming procurement rounds of renewables for the South African market, both under the Risk Mitigation and the RE IPP procurement programmes,” says Greg Austin, MD of juwi.
Bokamoso was constructed on a 150-hectare project site outside Leeudoringstad and has had a positive impact on the local community with over 450 people from the local beneficiary communities being directly employed on the project during construction. In addition, further employment was created through the contracting out of various services.
Local community involvement was key to the success of the project. Tinus Ramogopotse, Community industrial relations manager for juwi, comments: ”We have worked very closely with community stakeholders via both existing and new structures to ensure that local community interests were addressed. We also worked extremely hard, through proactive and appropriate mechanisms, to understand and minimise issues relating to community labour discontent.”
Nomzamo Landingwe, Chief Community Operations Officer for Renewable Energy Companies, says that over the 20-year operational period, the project will benefit a large number of communities, spread within a 50km radius of the project site, through various economic development programmes.
“Bokamoso Solar’s socio-economic development projects will be focused on education, youth development, health, food security and welfare. The programmes have been chosen following research and engagement to ensure that they are well informed and will strengthen the beneficiary communities,” says Landingwe.
“Additionally, a percentage of the revenue generated each year will be committed to implementing enterprise development initiatives, to build resilience and accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial businesses, ultimately stimulating the local economic growth and creating opportunities for the economic participation of previously disadvantaged groups.
“The focus is on small and micro enterprises, designed to enhance growth. To deliver on this objective, the establishment of a local resource centre, for use by local SMMEs and communities at large, will support this drive to support development, whilst the provision of accredited skills training will be provided to start-up businesses.”
Global players, local impact
Stephan Hansen, the Chief Operating Officer of the juwi Group, says that the completion of the second AIIM project is an important milestone for juwi in South Africa: “This is one of our core markets in our global strategy and one of the few markets where we are strategically positioned in both PV and on-shore wind. We are very proud of our team and the success they have achieved.”
“This portfolio is a very important bridge, we’ve been very successful early on in the South African market, and we’ve been awarded projects in nearly every round of the REIPP Programme. We’re one of the largest players in the South African market doing EPC and very importantly, we are now offering our own-developed PV projects into the market.
“Once all three projects are concluded in the coming months, juwi will have a 20% South African market share in both the EPC and O&M business areas.
“With the systemic shortage of energy supply combined with the political targets towards renewable energies and their proven cost advantages we see a positive and sustainable environment for us to be successful in the market.
The last years were very challenging due to the delays in the REIPP programs. We are now expecting a tangible political commitment to enable the valuable contribution to the future energy mix of South Africa and to the local communities that we are serving with our projects.”