Google to deliver loads of solar power

The American tech giant has selected the Northern Cape for a solar power plant. (Gemasolar handout, AFP)

The American tech giant has selected the Northern Cape for a solar power plant. (Gemasolar handout, AFP)

Google says the South African government's commitment to speeding up the adoption of renewable energy prompted its decision to launch its first such project in Africa – a R103-million solar energy plant in the Northern Cape.

The 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic Jasper power plant between Upington and Kimberley will be developed and funded by the American solar power project development firm SolarReserve, the empowerment investment Kensani Group and the wind and solar farm developer Intikon Energy. Other investors include the Public Investment Corporation and the Devel­op­ment Bank of Southern Africa. It will generate sufficient energy for 30 000 homes.

Google said in a statement that it was looking for "investments that can help speed up the adoption of renewable energy.
We've been looking beyond the United States and Europe to parts of the world where our investments can have an even greater impact."

The internet search giant was encouraged by the government's renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme, which aims to have 3 725MW of electricity generated from renewable energy sources for the power grid. But Google said that it would not have invested in the project if it did not believe the venture would be profitable.

"South Africa's strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest – which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year," it said.

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