Abengoa completes South Africa's first solar tower


Abengoa together with project partners Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Khi Community Trust, welcomed representatives from the government of South Africa to celebrate the completion of the construction of the Khi Solar One tower. This achievement marks an important milestone in the execution of this project, a significant development for concentrating solar power (CSP) tower technology itself, as well as a strong positive impact on the community and the country.

A delegation, including members of the South African government, visited the 205-meter tall tower of Khi Solar One in the Northern Cape province near Upington, where the national flag was raised next to those of the project partners. Representatives of IDC, a major South African industrial development institution, Abengoa and the Khi Community Trust, an institution that represents the local community, accompanied the guests on a tour through the installation and some of the suppliers' facilities.

Khi Solar One, a 50 megawatt (MW) superheated steam solar tower with two hours of thermal storage, represents an important technological advance in tower efficiency by using higher temperatures and an innovative dry cooling system. This advancement is the result of the R&D work done by Abengoa in its research centers and pilot plants.

Khi Solar One and KaXu Solar One, Abengoa's 100 MW parabolic trough plant also under construction in the Northern Cape, will be the first CSP plants in operation in South Africa. The South Africa Department of Energy intends to bring 17,800 MW online from renewable sources by 2030, framing South Africa's strategy for energy independence. The solar projects form a part of this strategy, as well as have additional environmental benefits: creating roughly 1400 local construction jobs on average per annum, peaking near 2000, and about 70 permanent operation jobs, as well as reducing the country's carbon dioxide emissions by about 498,000 tons each year.

It is also important to highlight the social value impact of these projects. For example, Khi Community Trust, the share-owning entity representing members of the local community, provides assistance and training to improve skills and knowledge in areas such as entrepreneurship, leadership, education, and infrastructure, and promotes the general personal development of the members of the communities.

Abengoa designs, constructs and operates its own plants, and is one of the few companies that use both parabolic trough and tower technology. It currently has 21 plants in operation with a total installed capacity of 843 MW, as well as 810 MW under construction worldwide.

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