Solar power and its bright future in the Northern Cape

January 17, 2018  — 
(Image: mrganso)

There is an increasing move to utilise alternative and eco-efficient energy sources around the globe and South Africa isn’t too far behind. The Northern Cape is implementing a renewable energy plan, with ongoing development of solar projects in the province.

The Northern Cape remains one of the hottest and driest regions in South Africa, making it the perfect location for solar-energy projects. The climate in the Northern Cape is classified as semi-desert with annual rainfall across the province ranging from 100mm upwards. Temperatures in the Northern Cape can reach up to 50°C.

The move towards a more integrated energy plan beyond just fossil fuels helps ease the reliance on finite resources and is a response to the load-shedding that occurred nationally from 2008 onwards.

Located in Pofadder, the Xina Solar One plant has reached completion and has been operational since October 2017. The third in a series of solar plants in the Northern Cape, Xina Solar One was completed after the KaXu Solar One and Khi Solar One plants.

The Northern Cape is benefiting from clean solar energy and has seen an economic boost from these projects through temporary and long-term job creation. This is valuable as the province faces a high unemployment rate, especially among younger adults.

The plants are able to generate electricity via solar steam.

So, what is solar steam?

The process utilises the solar panels to heat up water. The steam generated is then used to run turbines that provide electricity. The three plants are set to provide clean energy to the entire Northern Cape.

In light of global climate change and environmental awareness, the province is making great strides to ensure that clean energy is an everyday reality for its citizens.

For your next visit to the Northern Cape, book your accommodation here and enjoy the province of extremes.