A South African solar power plant has set a new African record for the continuous, round the clock supply of electricity.
Within the first month of commercial operation, the newly inaugurated 50 MW Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant built and operated by ACWA Power has produced electricity for a continuous period of 161 hours, equivalent to almost seven days.
Located in Groblershoop, within the Kheis Municipality in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, the project’s optimised performance was boosted by its 1300 MWh molten salt energy storage facility which provides 9.3 hours of thermal storage, the highest on the African continent.
In South Africa the country’s daily evening peak demand is from 5pm to 9pm and the newly introduced CSP Peak tariff means that developers are encouraged to have thermal storage capacity. Bokpoort CSP has shown that due to the good design of the plant and the solar radiation available at the site, its 9.3 hours of thermal storage can easily be extended to allow 24/7 continuous operations.
ACWA Power’s next project is the 100 MW Redstone CSP plant which is expected to begin construction this year. According to Nandu Bhula, CEO of Bokpoort CSP plant, this plant will offer 12 hours of storage capacity by applying the latest innovations in thermal storage technology.