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5 GigaWatt Solar Power Field To Be Built In South Africa

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South Africa has recently unveiled plans for building world’s biggest solar energy park, which, according to officials, will be capable of producing about 5GW of clean electricity.

The country is more than 90% dependent on coal-fired power stations and one in six people still lacks electricity: “In South Africa over 90% of our power comes from the burning of coal and we need to reduce this because of our international obligations on climate change,” said Jonathan de Vries, the project manager.

The project, expected to cost up to $29.25 bln, will have giant mirrors and solar panels installed all over the Northern Cape province, which is also considered one of the sunniest regions in the world with minimal rain and clouds.

The area is much better than the Sahara Desert because there are no sandstorms. The government is convinced that the new solar power plant will help reduce carbon emissions, producing one-tenth of the country’s present energy needs.

The solar park is expected to be ready by the end 2012 and in the first stage it will generate about 1GW of electricity, with plant of being increased to 5GW. Up to now, about 9,000 hectares of land have been earmarked for the park and the “solar corridor” is currently explored for further sites.

[via The Guardian]

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