Teraco Launches $106M Solar Project in South Africa

Teraco, a prominent African colocation provider, has unveiled its strategy to combat ongoing power challenges by constructing a 120-megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy facility in South Africa’s Free State province. Jan Hnizdo, Teraco’s CEO, disclosed that the company had successfully secured its initial grid capacity allocation from Eskom, the country’s public electricity utility. This initiative, aimed at bolstering energy resilience, involves an investment of approximately R2 billion (~$106 million) and is expected to be completed within 18 months.

The pivotal aspect of Teraco’s plan revolves around the grid capacity allocation from Eskom, which will enable the connection of the proposed 120MW solar facility to the national electrical grid. Subsequently, the electricity generated will be distributed through Eskom and municipal power networks to Teraco’s facilities across the country.

Teraco anticipates that upon reaching full operational capacity, the 120MW solar PV plant will yield over 338,000MWh annually. This move comes amidst challenges faced by Eskom, the state-owned entity responsible for the majority of South Africa’s electricity supply from coal-fired power stations, in providing consistent energy.

Eskom’s frequent load-shedding has significantly impacted business operations and the regional economy, prompting local companies to seek alternative energy sources. To address Eskom’s power deficiencies, Teraco has been allocating significant funds monthly for diesel to power its data centers’ generators. Despite grid availability averaging around 15% to 20% at specific sites, Teraco has maintained a 100% uptime over the past two years, albeit at a substantial financial cost.

CEO Hnizdo emphasized that securing grid capacity allocation signifies a crucial milestone in Teraco’s renewable energy mission and its commitment to serving its customer base effectively. He underscored the company’s multi-year efforts to obtain necessary approvals and stressed the current emphasis on swift implementation.

Teraco’s collaboration with Juwi Renewable Energies South Africa and Subsolar drives the development of the 120MW solar PV project. Juwi is tasked with design, procurement, construction, and commissioning, while Subsolar manages the installation process, reflecting Teraco’s comprehensive approach to renewable energy development.

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