ACWA Power, the lead shareholder in South Africa’s Bokpoort CSP Plant, has announced that the plant has become the first renewable facility on the continent to complete a full week of continuous round the clock operation.
Bokpoort CSP set the new African continental benchmark achieving 13 days (312 hours) of continuous operations on 23 October 2020, almost double the previous record it had set in March 2016. This initial record was 6 days.
This accomplishment was made possible by optimally managing 9.3 hours of the thermal salt storage system overnight, which allowed for a perfectly timed transition to the solar field every morning for the entire duration of this effort.
The 50MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant with thermal storage was commissioned during the 2nd bidding window of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) and commenced operation in 2016.
Christo Spammer, Bokpoort CSP CEO said: “We take the utmost pride in this record-breaking effort that successfully delivered 312 hours of continuous operations, which translate to approximately 13GWh of energy supply to the grid at an energy load factor of 83%. This is remarkable for a renewable energy facility and is equivalent to about 20 hours of full load operations daily (with a 50MW turbine) akin to base-load technologies.
“The consistency and reliability of the plant performance is evident from its 101.2% cumulative production performance from June 2020 to October 2020, in relation to the Production Simulation Model that sets the design expectations of the Bokpoort CSP plant. The fact that this performance was achieved during a global pandemic amidst national lockdown protocols, and where the COVID-19 virus had impacted site operations and affected deployment restrictions, is phenomenal,” Spammer added.