The 75 MW Kathu solar photovoltaic (PV) project was developed under the first round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and was among the very first utility-scale solar PV projects in South Africa.
In 2012, Zutari was appointed as the owner’s engineer for the project and was responsible for construction and commissioning supervision and the provision of technical assistance during commercial operations.
As one of the first utility-scale solar PV plants in South Africa, the development and construction began while the local renewables industry was still in its infancy. This necessitated rigorous inspections and monitoring to protect the equipment, performance and safety of the facility in the harsh Northern Cape environment. The production of the first kWh in August 2014 was a special moment for Renewable Energy Investments South Africa (REISA) and the Zutari team.
Zutari continues to work closely with the client to resolve technical challenges and monitor the performance of the plant and equipment. In 2020, advanced digital technologies and techniques were applied to the wealth of plant data that is being collated to help understand the operational behaviour of the plant.
As one of the first utility-scale solar PV plants in South Africa, the development and construction began while the local renewables industry was still in its infancy.
Helping us prepare the country for a more sustainable future
The tool that is being built examines and interprets data from the plant, identifies trends and predicts outcomes, thereby giving REISA a unique and powerful view of the current and future energy production of the plant, which will help the client optimise their asset management strategy.
“What started as an infrastructure appointment in 2012 has become a collaborative and supportive journey that not only adds clean energy to South Africa’s fossil-fuel dependent, heavily constrained grid but also uplifts communities and is helping us prepare the country for a more sustainable future,” says Paul Nel, Zutari Energy Lead, Africa.
*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020. Zutari acquired Aurecon Middle East on 20 November 2020.