South African diversified mining and renewable energy solutions company, Exxaro Resources, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Cennergi, has started construction on the 68MW the Lephalale Solar Project (LSP) in the Limpopo province.
Exxaro announced the commencement of the construction of the project last week during a sod-turning ceremony. The solar energy power plant will be a behind-the-meter power plant, and is being built at an estimated investment of R1,56 billion.
Once completed, the power plant will power Exxaro’s Grootegeluk Mine. The company highlighted that the project represents a significant milestone in its contribution towards enhanced energy security of the Grootegeluk Mine and Lephalale community.
The project, according to Exxaro, will also enhance the decarbonisation of its operations, energy cost savings, and contribute to South Africa’s energy transition pathway.
“Our mission goes beyond profit; we also aim to be stewards of the environment in which we operate. We are actively engaging with the local community, and during the peak of construction, we aim to employ between 300 to 400 individuals, with a significant emphasis on sourcing local talent. We will contribute towards economic growth within this region,” Leon Groenewald, Managing Director of Energy at Exxaro stated.
The Lephalale Solar Project (LSP) is expected to generate about 176 Gigawatt hours of clean energy annually, and was designed to reduce emissions for 25 years from commissioning.
Socio-economic upliftment for Limpopo communities
The solar plant will occupy 236-hectare of land, approximately 25km west of Lephalale in Limpopo. The site is 2km from Marapong and around 4km from Eskom’s Matimba power station.
Limpopo Premier, Mr Chupu Stanley Mathabatha remarked that the Province welcomes the commitment made by Exxaro through the Lephalale Solar Project, more specifically in terms of revenue percentage which will be contributed to the socio-economic upliftment of the local communities as part of its corporate social responsibility.
“We have been following the developments which have today led to this successful sod turning, from the signing of Memorandum to develop wind farms in 2009; to the bidding of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme; until Cennergi become a full subsidiary of Exxaro which today we are here with you witnessing the mission fulfilled”.
“This is the road we have traversed together on the lane of Private Public Partnership in a quest to drive economic growth, create sustainable socio-economic development and create much needed jobs through cleaner and greener renewable energy,” concluded Premier Mathabatha.