French power utility acquires 40 percent stake in Xina Solar One

IPP expands its footprint in South Africa, bringing some relief during peak demand.

Green energy corporation Engie is closer to realising its goal of becoming South Africa’s leading independent power producer. The power utility has agreed to buy 40 percent of Abengoa’s Xina Solar One, situated in the Northern Cape.

The group will also take over 46 percent of the operations and maintenance company responsible for servicing the 100MWt concentrated solar plant. The facility is equipped with parabolic trough technology and a molten salt storage system that allows for more than five energy storage hours, which means it can provide a reliable source of energy during peak demand.

“Xina augments the country’s installed peaking power and reduces its dependence on coal-fired electricity. The 100MW CSP plant also contributes to Engie’s geographic rationalisation by expanding its footprint in South Africa, where it is the leading Independent Power Producer with 1.320MW of installed capacity,” says Engie Mescata CEO Sébastien Arbola.

Xina is located in the same province as Engie’s 100MW Kathu CSP plant. Engie will develop synergies between these two CSPs to boost operational efficiencies in both plants. Engie Southern Africa CEO Mohamed Hoosen said: “We are adding an innovative high-performing plant and are increasing our CSP capacity. This investment will create value over the long term while accelerating impact on the energy transition of our customers.”

There have been no details on how much the deal is worth, but its conclusion will see Engie as the majority stakeholder in Xina Solar One. The remaining interests are split between the Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation, and the public Xina Community Trust.

Xina already supplies power to at least 95,000 South African households and prevents approximately 348,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.