Bokpoort Concentrated Solar Power Project to Contribute Significantly to Renewable Energy Mix
Apr 22, 2016
This takes thermal energy from the sun and concentrates it by several factors, creating useful thermal energy that can be used directly (in small applications we can cook with it), or to drive electricity generation processes (where the concentrated energy is the fire that drives the steam engine that produces electricity). South Africa's excellent solar resources make it a prime location for this technology and the government's renewable energy programme (the REIPPPP) has taken advantage of this.
One of the projects in this programme is the recently inaugurated Bokpoort CSP project, which will have a capacity of 50MW and will be able to supply the country's energy mix with 220 000 MWhs of electricity a year, over 18300 MWh per month. If we assumed a household used 450kWh per month, this plant would be able to provide electricity for over 40 700 households.
The plant has storage capacity for over 9 hours, which means that once the sun is down, it can continue generating, contributing to peak demand, as well as generate in the morning peak times, before the sun is at full shine. This flexibility means that CSP facilities can contribute to base load capacity, improving the case for renewables. With economies of scale, increased deployment, prices for CSP will become more competitive and contribute significantly to renewable energy's penetration into the energy mix.