Independent power producer (IPP) Sola Group is closing the financing for a solar project it is implementing in South Africa. The project will provide 200 MWp of power to the mines and smelters of mining operator Tronox.
Sola Group is launching the construction phase of its solar power plants near Tronox’s mining sites in Africa. The project enters this phase after a financial raise supported by African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP), Sola’s largest shareholder, which also helped raise R3.1 billion, or $179 million. The Sola project is also supported by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank.
The financing package was led by PepperTree Capital. Law firms Pinsent Masons, Hogan Lovells, Faskens, Allen & Overy and ENS advised on the transaction, which enables Sola to accelerate the construction of its solar PV plants. The project will require a total investment of R4 billion (more than $230 million) for an installed capacity of 200 MWp. This electricity will be sold to Tronox Mineral Sands.
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As part of the project, Sola plans to mount 387,000 solar panels on single-axis trackers to ensure higher module productivity. Wilson Bayly Holmes (WBHO), a South African company, has been contracted to install the various installations and is expected to deliver the work in 2023. Sola has also obtained Eskom’s agreement to transmit electricity through its transmission facilities to power five Tronox facilities in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
With 40% of the electricity required to run Tronox’s facilities to be supplied by Eskom, the mining company is making the project part of its sustainability strategy. “Tronox’s renewable energy project with Sola Group will reduce our overall carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 13% from our 2019 baseline,” says Melissa Zona, Tronox’s senior vice president, human resources and sustainability director.
Jean Marie Takouleu