Two solar power plants in South Africa come online

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SolarReserve, a developer of utility-scale solar power projects and solar thermal technology, today announced that two 75 MW DC solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have completed construction and are fully operational and successfully helping to power the Eskom South African electric grid with renewable energy.

The Lesedi and Letsatsi Projects, totaling 150 MW DC of installed capacity, are capable of powering more than 130,000 South African homes with clean energy and have provided economic benefits to the region. Combined, the two projects generated 2.3 million man-hours during construction.

As mandated under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the projects set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities.

Among the largest project finance transactions ever completed in South Africa and largest renewable energy projects in continental Africa, the Lesedi Project and Letsatsi Project, each respectively located in the Northern Cape and the Free State, were selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in the first round of bids under the REIPPPP. The projects have each executed 20-year power purchase agreements with Eskom, the South African power utility company ranked as one of the top 20 utilities in the world by power generation.

The projects were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), GCL Poly Energy Holdings and Intikon Energy.  Rand Merchant Bank, the investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank Limited, acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for the projects' debt funding requirements.

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