Solar Capital: The Irish connection conquers SA market

Solar energy will become a trillion dollars worldwide market over the next 20 years and a Cape Town based firm, Solar Capital, wants to capture a fair share of the market.

Solar Capital, signed its second Independent Power Purchase (IPP) Agreement with the Department of Energy last week. This was the second agreement signed by the firm for establishment of a solar farm at De Aar in the Northern Cape which will feed the national grid.

Solar Capital is currently the only player to have scooped two contracts, one from round one and the other from round two of the renewable IPP programme.

Solar Energy is steered by Irish born entrepreneur, Paschal Phelan, who moved to Cape Town in the early 2000s and dabbled in property development and hospitality industries. For the multi-billion rands solar venture, Phelan has teamed up with some of the most prominent South African business people. Solar Panel board features Danny Jordan of the 2010 World Cub fame  and Bobby Godsell. Jordan came in recently to replace Mamphela Ramphele as chairperson of the company.

In a statement released last week Solar Capital said the second Der Aar project translate to an additional investment of R2.5 billion and will employ over 700 people during construction and 200 thereafter. The funding of the project was provided jointly by Standard Bank and Industrial Development Corporation. The project has 40% Black Economic Empowerment (BBEEE) shareholding which includes a local Community Trust holding of a 12.5% share.

Commenting during the signing ceremony Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters, said “This ground-breaking programme won the Green Infrastructure Project of the Year Award at the 6th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum held in New York. In the same category were other competing infrastructure projects from all corners of the world”.

Phelan said the Der Aar project marked another milestone in the company’s vision to be a world leader in the market for the provision of low cost solar energy. “Solar PV energy will continue to reduce in price over the coming decade and it will be found by governments to be at a far lower cost than traditional fossil fuel and nuclear energy”.

He added,“Our solar PV panels are proven technology over 25 years. They convert sunlight directly into electricity with no moving parts, have no emissions whatsoever and both 100% environmentally friendly and fast to install”.

 Solar Capital is positioning itself to become a major international player in the renewable energy project development space with a focus on large solar power plants in Africa and the Middle East.

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