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Cape Town aims to end loadshedding with new solar plant

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announces the launch of the solar PV project with the support of C40 and GIZ. (Image source: City of Cape Town, Media Office)

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of Cape Town in South Africa, has announced that the city will design, build and operate a solar PV plant, complete with battery storage capable of providing loadshedding protection

The project is one of two given support by the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF), which offers cities technical and financial assistance in support of a green and just transition. 

The CFF initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Agence Française de Development (AFD), and is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

The Mayor explained, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that the city's Paardevlei ground mounted solar PV and battery storage project just outside Somerset West will yield up to 60MW of renewable energy – enough to protect against one full stage of Eskom's loadshedding. The C40 CFF will support the project team in their efforts to undertake a technical feasibility study. This project is another critical step in our journey away from Eskom reliance and towards a loadshedding-free Cape Town. We are confident that Cape Town will be the first metro to free our economy from power disruptions, and ensure a green and just energy transition.”

The feasibility study for the Paardevlei plant will be complete by the end of 2023, with full commissioning of the plant estimated by August 2026. 

Hill-Lewis recently tabled the city's Building Hope Budget for 23/24, with an end loadshedding plan over three years inclusive of funding towards the Paardevlei solar PV plant. The city issued its largest power tender yet, seeking to buy 500MW of dispatchable energy on the open market. This is the final phase of a three-phase procurement to protect residents from the first four stages of Eskom's load-shedding within three years.

Contracts for a 200MW renewable energy procurement from independent power producers will be awarded within 2023.