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Sterling and Wilson commissions 90MW solar PV plant in South Africa

Solar Plant, Northern Cape - [http://www.pennenergy.com/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/07/ScatecSolar.png] Solar Plant, Northern Cape - [http://www.pennenergy.com/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/07/ScatecSolar.png]

Sterling and Wilson, a leading global solar EPC with around 1,000MW of installed solar PV capacity on ground, has commissioned its 90 MWp solar photovoltaic power plant in South Africa. The solar power plant commissioned by S&W has been set up for Solar Capital De Aar (Pty.) Ltd close to De Aar in the Northern Cape region of South Africa.

The project is a part of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP.) This IPP Procurement Program has been designed so as to contribute towards socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth, and to start and stimulate the renewable industry in South Africa. The commissioning of the project is also a quintessential symbol of partnership between India and South Africa in Solar Energy Sector, marking the beginning of an association between BRICS countries in upcoming technology.

The solar plant will be operational for 20 years and is expected to generate approximately 183,000MWh of power during its first year. While installing the solar power plant S&W employed more than 90% un-skilled employees from the local community. The Power generated by the solar photovoltaic plant will be evacuated at 132kV voltage level. Sterling and Wilson’s scope of work for this project included turnkey EPC and construction of a 132kV Substation and 15km Transmission line including refurbishment of last 5km line. S&W will also be doing Operation and Maintenance of said plant. The company is already doing O&M activities for 500MW of projects globally of projects ranging from 1MW - 150MW. The power produced by the solar plant will be purchased by Eskom, the South African National Utility Company.  

Speaking on the commissioning of the 90MWp solar power plant that has been set up for Solar Capital De Aar 3 (Pty) Ltd. Bikesh Ogra, President, Sterling and Wilson, Electrical and Solar Business said that S&W Engineering is BEEE Level 3 Company.

“We were focused on ensuring that our reputation as a technically competent, quality conscious and cost effective solar EPC solutions provider is enhanced with each project we deliver. The fact that Sterling and Wilson was selected ahead of well entrenched international solar EPC’s to partner with Solar Capital De Aar 3 in constructing this 90MWp solar photovoltaic power plant for them is an indicator of our superior engineering and project execution capabilities. We have delivered Solar Capital De Aar 3 a technologically advanced and optimized solar power plant within the tight timeframe of 10 months,” says Ogra.

One of the major challenges that Sterling and Wilson encountered while planning the project was to find a solution to reduce power generation losses while transmitting the power to the substation situated at a distance. The plant is engineered to work at a high performance ratio of around 80%. Sterling and Wilson has already committed to executing 500MW of photovoltaic (PV) power plants across different parts of Africa in the coming three years. It has also set up local offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and other parts of the African regions as a testament to its commitment of establishing itself as the numero-uno Solar EPC Company in the African Solar Market.

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