Morocco has Africa’s largest solar project, Noor, while South Africa is home to eight of the ten largest solar power plants on the continent. We review the largest operational solar projects in Africa by installed capacity.

Noor Solar Complex – 510 MW.

The Noor Solar Complex is a 500 MW solar park located in the commune of Ouarzazate, in the district of Agadir, Morocco. It is largest solar energy project by concentration in the world.

The project site provides 2,635 kWh / m² of sunshine per year, considered one of the highest in the world. The solar park integrates several industrial scale solar power plants equipped with various solar technologies.

The Noor solar park includes the Noor I, Noor II and Noor III projects, which cover an area of ​​2,500 ha. The three power plants were connected to the grid in 2018. The Noor solar complex offsets 760,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Solar De Aar Project – 175 MW.

Located in the North Cape, South Africa, the De Aar solar project was developed by Solar Capital. The project consists of two phases (De Aar 1 and De Aar 3) with a combined installed capacity of 175 MW.

De Aar 1 was commissioned in 2014 and became operational in 2016. The project was developed under the South African Government’s Independent Renewable Energy Producer Recruitment Program (REIPPPP).

The De Aar solar project provides green electricity to power up to 100,000 South African homes, making it the largest solar park in the country.

Benban solar project – 165.5 MW

The 165.5 MW Benban Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Farm is located in Aswan Province in Benban, Egypt. The solar park consists of three solar power plants with an individual installed capacity of 67.5 MW, 70 MW and 28 MW, respectively.

The 165.5 MW project was built by CHINT Solar in August 2018. ACWA Power is the developer, financier and operator of the solar farm, which involved an investment of $ 190 million.

Benban photovoltaic solar park produces enough electricity to power 80,000 homes and offsets around 156,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

KaXu Solar One – 100 MW

KaXu Solar One is a 100 MW solar power plant located near Pofadder, North Cape Province, South Africa. It is the first commercially operated solar thermoelectric power plant in South Africa.

The public-private project, which was launched in March 2015, provides sustainable energy to South African power company Eskom, under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Abengoa owns a 51% stake in the project, while IDC and KaXu Community Trust hold 29% and 20% respectively.

KaXu Solar One’s power plant is capable of delivering clean, green energy to around 80,000 South African households.

Xina Solar One – 100 MW

Xina Solar One is located in Pofadder, South Africa, and has a 100 MW CSP plant built by Abengoa with an investment of $ 880 million. The factory started commercial activities in September 2017.

The solar thermal power station uses parabolic trough technology and provides 5.5 hours of thermal energy storage. The plant’s parabolic trough collector is considered the largest ESTC commercial project in the world to date.

The plant is expected to produce around 400 GWh of energy, enough to power 95,000 homes and eliminate 348,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

CSP Ilanga-1 plant – 100 MW

SENER and its partners Emvelo and Cobra completed the commissioning and testing of the 100 MW Ilanga-1 thermal power plant in November 2018. Located in Karoshoek, in the North Cape Province of South Africa, the plant is owned by Karoshoek Solar One (RF) Proprietary.

The CSP Ilanga-1 plant has 266 SENERtrough® loops. The molten salt storage system installed in the plant provides five hours of thermal energy storage to generate energy in the absence of solar radiation.

The solar power plant is expected to provide clean energy to around 100,000 South African households, while reducing 90,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year over 20 years.

Kathu Solar Park – 100 MW

The Kathu Solar Park (KSP) is a 100 MW CSP project in Kathu in the North Cape Province of South Africa. The solar park began commercial operations in January 2019.

The KSP project is owned by Engie, SIOC Community Development Trust, Public Investment Corporation, Lereko Metier REIPPP Fund Trust, Investec Bank and Kathu LCT Trust.

The project integrates the technology of parabolic trough collectors and the storage of molten salt, providing 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage. It supplies 179,000 households in South Africa during its peak period.

Jasper Solar Project – 96 MW

With an installed capacity of 96 MW-DC, Jasper is one of the largest solar energy projects in mainland Africa. The solar power plant is located in Postmasburg, in the North Cape Province of South Africa.

The solar energy project was developed by SolarReserve and its partners Kensani and Intikon Energy. Construction of the Jasper plant began in October 2013, while the project began operating at full capacity in October 2014.

Jasper produces around 180 GWh of renewable energy per year, which is enough to supply 80,000 homes in South Africa.

Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska photovoltaic project – 86 MW

The 86 MW Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska Photovoltaic (PV) project is located on 125 ha of land in the North Cape Province, South Africa. The solar power plant began commercial operations in July 2016.

This project was developed by Mulilo Renewable Project Developments (Pty) in association with Mulilo Renewable Energy and Ixowave Women in Power, for Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV (Pty).

The Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska photovoltaic project provides enough electricity to 40,000 South African households via the Eskom grid, during its 20-year lifespan.

Kalkbult solar power plant – 75 MW

The 75 MW Kalkbult photovoltaic solar power plant is located near Petrusville, in the North Cape Province of South Africa. Developed by Scatec Solar, the plant was officially opened in November 2013.

Construction of the Kalkbult solar power plant started in November 2012 and the installation was connected to the grid in September 2013. The photovoltaic power plant has 312,000 solar panels spread over 105 hectares of land.

The Kalkbult plant produces 135 GWh of renewable energy per year, which is enough to power 33,000 homes. It will also make it possible to offset 115,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.