8 December 2011
Soitec selected as a preferred bidder under South Africa’s independent power producer program
Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (as well as III-V epiwafers through its Picogiga International division), has been selected by South Africa’s Department of Energy as one of the preferred bidders under the country’s independent power producer (IPP) program. Soitec’s initial project under the program is to install a 50MW-peak concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) plant in Touwsrivier, Western Cape, next to the Aquila Private Game Reserve, where Soitec has already installed a solar pilot plant.
According to the Department of Energy, South Africa’s goal is to generate 42% of all new electricity from renewable energy sources over the next 20 years. In the IPP program, the Department of Energy has received over 300 applications for grid connection.It says that it has applied very strict selection criteria in reviewing the applications and, in its first round of procurement decisions, approved the project proposal submitted by Soitec in partnership with Schneider Electric of South Africa.
Soitec developed the project from inception to its current status of preferred bidder, including conducting the environmental impact assessment and obtaining all the required permits. For the construction phase, it will supply CPV systems and expertise while Schneider Electric will provide engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) based on its footprint in South Africa.
Soitec claims that its CPV technology demonstrates unique cost competitiveness compared to other solar technologies, due largely to its higher production yields at peak times and lower construction and maintenance costs. In addition, its abilities to operate without cooling water, to withstand hot ambient temperatures, and to accommodate the dual use of land with minimal environmental impact make it suited for use throughout South Africa.
Schneider Electric’s renewable energies access offering covers requirements from electricity generation through to network connection. As well as operation and maintenance, the firm’s services include feasibility studies, architectural design, plant construction, power distribution, supplying all types of equipment such as junction boxes, inverters, transformer substations, the supervision system and video surveillance.