The 86MW Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Northern Cape, South Africa has commenced its commercial operations.

It took about 17 months for the construction of the PV plant, which is located on a 125ha site 50 km south-west of Prieska.

The project was developed in partnership with Mulilo Renewable Energy and Ixowave Women in Power under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPPP).

juwi Renewable Energies, a South African subsidiary of international juwi group, buit the project for Sonnedix.

The plant is expected to have a life span of 20 years and will be run under the directions of the Department of Energy. The ongoing operations will be managed by Sonnedix with a local team.

Sonnedix says that it is fully committed in supporting the local community and its economic development in the next 20 years.

Sonnedix CEO Andreas Mustad said “We are delighted to announce the completion of the Prieska Solar Plant, our first in South Africa.

“The project has driven crucial economic activity in the Northern Cape, and will bring renewable power to 40,000 homes across South Africa.”

Sonnedix Solar South Africa Holdings Country Manager Farid Moucer said: “The project was completed in due time as per the schedule and is now fully operational – it has been a tremendous team effort and we thank all of our suppliers and stakeholders who ensured that we met our deadlines.”

Sonnedix says that during the construction of the project, it had a significant economic impact in the Northern Cape region in terms of job creation. A wider scale of opportunities has also been created for South African suppliers of renewable energy.

Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV Project engineering, procurement and construction manager Torsten Keller said: “We used as many South African suppliers as possible for the project. Most of our large equipment, solar modules, the mounting structures, the invertor station, were procured through a local South African entity.

“Components were only imported if they were not manufactured in South Africa, and our plant will continue benefiting to the local community for the next 20 years of operation.”

Image: Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska Solar PV plant begins commercial operations. Photo: Courtesy of Sonnedix.