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Solar farm project gains speed

The planned solar farm will be situated between Carletonville and Westonaria.

Gauteng took a further step this week to ensure that the sizeable solar farm envisioned for our area becomes a reality.

The Gauteng Provincial Government signed an agreement with two of six independent power producers (IPPs) responsible for developing the Merafong Local Municipality’s solar farm on Wednesday, 22 May.

The parties signed the agreement in Midrand.

Although talk of such a project started before the Covid-19 pandemic, the premier, Panyaza Lesufi, officially announced the project during the State of the Province Address in February.

According to the Gauteng Government’s Lerato Mailoane, Sibanye Stillwater donated 1,600 hectares of land for the project. Once completed, the photovoltaic power station will contribute 800 megawatts to the electricity grid.

A non-profit company (NPC), Bokamoso Ba Rona, will manage and develop the public-private partnership (PPP).

The founding partners of the NPC are the Far West Rand Dolomitic Water Association (FWRDWA), Sibanye Stillwater, West Rand District Municipality, and the Gauteng Infrastructure Financial Agency (GIFA), representing the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

The mandate to the IPPs was to source its funding and acquire all required permits for the site development. That means there will be no cost to the provincial government.

“This is a good template for what PPPs can achieve to revitalise the economically distressed regions of the province and the country in general. It is also proof that, in the face of a fragile fiscal situation and an era of cost containment, it is still possible for the government to work with private sector partners to effect change, said MEC for Finance, Jacob Mamabolo.

Neither the Merafong City Local Municipality nor the Gauteng Provincial Government shed more light on how the project would benefit Merafong’s residents. The solar farm will be between Carletonville and Westonaria.
It is also stll not sure when this huge project would be completed.

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