Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, has announced that it will supply approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of solar panels for two projects that are being developed, built and operated by a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power in South Africa. The projects, which are being developed at two separate sites in the Northern Cape of South Africa, will be designed and constructed by Siemens and will be operational by mid-2014.
David King, Suntech’s CEO, said, “We are excited to be partnering with Mainstream Renewable Power, one of the world’s leading developers of renewable energy projects, and Siemens, which is renowned for its engineering and implementation expertise. These landmark projects will showcase the ability of solar to provide clean and sustainable energy to South African communities.”
The projects will use Suntech’s V series modules, which are well-suited for utility-scale power plant installations. The solar systems are expected to generate 180 gigawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power approximately 15,000 households and displace approximately 180,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.
Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power, said, “Suntech’s proven track record of powering utility-scale power plants, reliable technology and their global support network were central to our decision to partner with them. With quality components and engineering, we are confident these projects will demonstrate the capabilities of solar energy in South Africa and set the foundation for a sustainable future.”
O’Connor added, “I first visited Suntech’s manufacturing facility in Wuxi in early 2010 and the quality of technology focus and ability to maintain a high level power output throughout the project lifecycle were key considerations in our technology choice.”
“We are all proud to participate in the South African government’s first round of tenders and be awarded as suppliers for these two photovoltaic plants. The combination of Suntech’s technology and Siemens’ execution strength as well as our strong local team set-up will form a perfect partnership that will set the highest standard for our partner Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd. These projects are opening the door to one of the most interesting emerging renewable energy markets,” stated Ted Scheidegger, CEO of Siemens Solar & Hydro Division.
The 100MW solar plants are among the first projects to be granted licenses under South Africa’s first Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). The programme targets the installation of 1.45GW of photovoltaic solar plants by the end of 2014 and 8.2GW by 2030.
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Founder and Executive Chairman, said, “With rapid cost declines over the past decade, solar is not only environmentally friendly, but also cost competitive with many other forms of energy generation. We are confident that South Africa’s clear renewable energy policy will provide a blueprint for other countries in the region. We enjoy a strong relationship with Dr. O’Connor and the team at Mainstream and these projects are a very important milestone in our relationship.”