Solar Thermal In South Africa

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solar thermal power plant
eSolar’s concentrating solar power technology

eSolar, a leading provider of modular, scalable solar thermal power technology, has partnered with Johannesburg-based Clean Energy Solutions to open eSolarSA to expand sales operations across Sub-Saharan Africa. Through the agreement, CES is granted the exclusive right to represent and distribute eSolar’s concentrating solar power technology throughout a seven-country region, including the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.

“With local partners on three continents and a commercially proven technology, eSolar is ready to expand its global footprint and further its goal of making solar energy competitive with fossil fuels,” said Bill Gross, CEO of eSolar. “Africa boasts one of the highest solar resource on the planet, and eSolar’s modular, scalable technology is well positioned to establish the continent as a leader in the development of low-cost, no-carbon energy solutions.”

Working closely with eSolar, CES will operate eSolarSA as a separate entity responsible for project support and client service in Southern Africa. Leading eSolarSA’s efforts will be renewable energy advocate Stuart Fredman, currently the managing director of CES, a South African developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects. The region has made aggressive moves to boost renewable energy capacity, with the South African government notably setting the goal to provide 10,000 gigawatts of electricity from renewable resources by 2013.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s tremendous solar resource has gone relatively untapped, but now, with eSolar’s technology, we can establish Southern Africa as a new hotspot for solar development,” said Mr. Fredman. “eSolar’s CSP technology is the perfect fit for South Africa in its quest to generate affordable, clean energy and develop local jobs, particularly in rural areas.”

This deal marks the continued global expansion of eSolar. In February, eSolar signed a development and licensing agreement with the ACME Group for the development of 1 GW of solar power plants in India over the next 10 years with construction starting this year. In the United States, eSolar partnered with NRG Energy, Inc., to deploy up to 465 megawatts of solar electricity. By building its plants in small 46 MW units sited on 80 hectares (200 acres) and leveraging locally sourced, prefabricated components, eSolar’s plants overcome the key obstacles facing solar deployment – namely, price, speed of deployment, and grid impact.

Recently, eSolar unveiled its Sierra SunTower power plant in Southern California, the only commercially operating solar power tower plant in North America. The 5 MW plant provides enough power for 4,000 area homes at peak production and created 250 jobs at the height of construction.

eSolar is an Idealab company founded in 2007 to develop, construct, and deploy modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. eSolar’s approach marries a low-impact, pre-fabricated form factor with advanced optics and computer software engineering to meet the demands of utilities of any size for clean, renewable and cost-competitive solar energy. By focusing on the key business obstacles that have characterized large solar installations – price, scalability, speed of deployment and grid impact – eSolar has developed a proprietary solution to make a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar thermal technology. eSolar is based in Pasadena, California.

Read Solar Thermal Systems: Successful Planning and Construction from Amazon.

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