Google has just closed a $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Upon completion, Jasper will be capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
Google said that South Africa has strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest.
Back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage. Since then the South African government has been actively supporting the growth of new sources of electricity to power the nation. While today South Africa is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, there?s lots of potential for renewable energy sice the country is blessed with abundant wind and solar resources, and the government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (as a comparison, the entire South African grid is currently 44 GW).
To meet this goal, the South African government has established the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Through the program, renewable energy projects compete on the basis of cost and contribution to the local economy to be awarded a contract with Eskom, South Africa?s state-owned energy utility. Jasper and the other projects being developed through the REIPPPP have the potential to transform the South African energy grid.
Jasper will also create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues - amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project?for enterprise and socio-economic development.
Google has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments.