PRETORIA, South Africa, May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The development consortium consisting of SolarReserve, a U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects; the Kensani Group, an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa; and Intikon Energy, a South African developer of renewable energy projects, has successfully closed project financing for the Jasper Solar Energy Project, a 96 megawatt (MW DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) project. The Jasper Project, located in the Northern Cape of South Africa near the town of Kimberly, was selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) in May of 2012 in the second round of bids under the South Africa Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Upon completion, the Jasper Project will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent and will help South Africa meet its renewable energy targets, stimulate long-term economic development, create jobs and power more than 30,000 South African homes. The project also marks Google's first renewable energy investment in Africa.
"We are proud to be part of South Africa's progressive program to advance clean energy. Our Jasper project will provide substantial, long-term economic benefits to region and help the country meet its impressive clean energy goals," said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve. "The South Africa government's advanced energy projects are allowing the country to quickly become a model for not only the rest of the continent, but for the world. We look forward to continuing our work on Jasper and on our other photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in development in South Africa."
The Jasper Project financial close comes during a time in which the country has seen massive growth in renewable energy. Spurred by a transformative government-established renewable energy program, South Africa leads the renewable energy race with the highest growth in clean energy in the world in 2012, making it a prime destination for continuing clean energy investment. In November 2012, the consortium led by SolarReserve, Kensani Group and Intikon Energy closed $586 million (ZAR 5.15 billion) in financing for two 75-megawatt solar PV projects located in South Africa's Free State and Northern Cape, the Letsatsi Project and the Lesedi Project, set to deliver energy to more than 50,000 homes by mid-2014.
Rand Merchant Bank (a division of FirstRand Bank Limited) acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for the Jasper Project's debt funding requirements. Equity investment for the project was provided by Google, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Kensani Capital Investments, SolarReserve, Intikon, Development Bank of South Africa and the P.E.A.C.E. Humansrus Fund, with Rand Merchant Bank providing preference share equity. International law firm Baker & McKenzie supported the project activities through its offices in Johannesburg and the United States, with Kensani Eaglestone Capital Advisory acting as financial adviser.
"The Jasper Project will not only produce clean, renewable energy, but will also bring hundreds of quality jobs to the region. Following on from the Lesedi and Letsatsi deals which closed in Round 1 of the South African Renewable Energy IPP Programme, RMB is again proud to be involved in another successful project with SolarReserve, Kensani and Intikon," said Daniel Zinman, Rand Merchant Bank.
Google participated in the project by becoming an equity investor at the financial close and will help fund the project during construction. Google has invested heavily in the renewable energy industry; since 2010, the company has committed more than US$1 billion to investments in renewable energy projects worldwide capable of producing two gigawatts of power.
"The Jasper Power Project and other projects being developed through the REIPPPP have the potential to transform the South African power grid, and we're proud to be a part of that effort," said Rick Needham, Google's Director of Energy and Sustainability.
The Jasper project has executed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility. The project cost of approximately ZAR2.3 billion ($260 million) will make this one of the single largest PV projects in Africa. The Jasper project is located adjacent to the 75 MW Lesedi Solar Energy Project, which broke ground in February 2013. The Jasper and Lesedi Projects, along with the Letsatsi Project located near Bloemfontein, put the consortium's total portfolio of successful solar projects at 244 MW, accounting for a 20 percent share of South Africa's solar energy market.
"The Kensani Group is once again honoured to be instrumental in contributing to the realisation of our governments' vision for clean, sustainable power generation that will also result in the economic upliftment of disenfranchised communities. Kensani and its partners are committed to the development of our infrastructure space through this world-class renewable energy programme," said Kelley Starke-Dow, CEO Kensani Group.
Yielding approximately 300 construction jobs and 50 permanent operational jobs, the project will provide rural development programs and education enhancement, as well as skills and technology transfer. The project is expected to generate significant additional indirect and induced jobs across the supply chain during the construction phase and during the 25-year plus operational period. The project has an annual operations and maintenance budget of ZAR 36.5 million ($4 million) for staff, services and spare parts. The project will also set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, amounting to a total of approximately ZAR 230 million ($26 million) over the life of the project, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities surrounding the project.
SolarReserve, LLC – headquartered in Santa Monica, California – is a developer of large-scale solar energy projects with activities worldwide. SolarReserve has commercialized the world's leading solar thermal energy storage technology utilizing molten salt in a power tower configuration. SolarReserve's solar energy storage technology has the capability to deliver clean, reliable electricity at any time, day and night. SolarReserve's team of power project professionals have assembled an extensive 5,000 MW worldwide development portfolio of large-scale solar projects featuring its advanced solar thermal technology (also referred to as concentrated solar power or CSP) as well as projects utilizing photovoltaic technology.
SolarReserve has solar energy projects with capital costs of more than US$1.5 billion in construction, both CSP and PV projects, including its flagship Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada and the Lesedi and Letsatsi projects in South Africa. The 110MW Crescent Dunes project is the first commercial scale facility utilizing the advanced molten salt power tower energy storage technology. SolarReserve's technology can capture and store the sun's thermal energy and can operate 'on demand' just like conventional coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants, but without the release of harmful emissions or hazardous wastes associated with conventional power plant technology, nor does it expose utilities and rate payers to volatile fossil fuel prices.
For more information: www.SolarReserve.com
U.S. Media Contact: Andi Plocek, SolarReserve, +1.310.315.2233, Andi.Plocek@SolarReserve.com
About the Kensani Group
Kensani was established 15 years ago for the economic upliftment and empowerment of women in South Africa. Kensani is an informed and experienced Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment group (BBBEE) focused on providing investment and other services in the Southern African infrastructure sector. Given Kensani's successful infrastructure track record, Kensani is leveraging its significant expertise into the fast-growing South African renewable energy sector as financial advisor in partnership with Eaglestone, investor and operator.
Coenraad Krige: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Intikon Energy
Intikon Energy is an international developer and owner of renewable energy projects in both the wind and solar sector. The proponents involved with Intikon Energy have developed in conjunction with international partners more than 250MW of wind projects and 500MW of solar projects globally. Intikon has a strong presence in both the South African and Australian markets.
Stephen Donnelly: email@example.com
About Rand Merchant Bank
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, is a leading African investment bank and part of one of the largest financial services groups in Africa. We offer our clients innovative, value-added advisory, funding, trading, corporate banking and principal investing solutions. RMB has funded several infrastructure, resource finance, mergers and acquisitions, and development projects in many African countries over the past decade. Our knowledge of local financing requirements, legal and jurisdictional frameworks, together with the expertise and balance sheets of FirstRand Bank, enable us to service the needs of the rapidly expanding African economy.
As the investment banking arm of the FirstRand Group, RMB has access to a network of retail banks in 25 African countries (including offices representative offices), and subsidiaries in the UK, India, China, and the Middle East.
Media Contact: Joandra Griesel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google's innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.
Media Contact: Kate Hurowitz: email@example.com
About Public Investment Corporate (PIC)
Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited (PIC) is the largest, most successful investment managers on the African continent. Solely owned by the South African Government they have managed public sector funds since 1911. In March 2012, PIC's assets under management totalled R1.17trillion. PIC invests funds on behalf of public sector entities, based on investment mandates dictated by each of these clients and approved by the Financial Services Board (FSB). The largest of these is the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), which accounts for more than 88% of assets under management.
Media Contact: Nomzamo Petje: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA)
The Development Bank is a leading Development Finance Institution (DFI) in Africa South of the Sahara, playing the roles of Financier, Advisor, Partner, Implementer and Integrator. The Bank maximizes its contribution to sustainable development in the region by mobilising financial, knowledge and human resources to support Government and other development role-players in improving the quality of life of people in the region through funding infrastructure projects; accelerating the sustainable reduction of poverty and inequity; and promoting broad-based economic growth and regional economic integration.
Media Contact: Jacky Mashapu: JackyM@dbsa.org
About The P.E.A.C.E Foundation
The P.E.A.C.E Foundation was established in 1993, as a Trust, as a registered Non-Profit Organization and an accredited recipient for Corporate Social Investment and Enterprise Development in terms of the BBBEE Scorecard requirements. The P.E.A.C.E Foundation has developed a solution, known as the P.E.A.C.E Model that serves as a mechanism for poverty alleviation in rural communities, through Local Economic Development (LED).
Media Contact: Edith Hlalele: email@example.com
Present in over 30 countries, IBERDROLA ENGINEERING is a world leading energy engineering company that builds "turnkey" projects in the generation, nuclear, network and renewables sector, both for IBERDROLA GROUP companies as well as for third parties.
Media Contact: Vicente Trullencha Arenas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abut Group Five
Group Five was established in 1974. Today, the group is an integrated construction services, materials and infrastructure investment group operating in over 20 countries with more than 12 000 people in its employ.
Media Contact: Peter de Vries: Pdevries@groupfive.co.za
SOURCE SolarReserve, LLC