The South African government is to sign $5.4bn in green energy deals next week, in a move set to lead to several new wind and sun power plants for the country.

The Department of Energy and Eskom will sign the deals on Monday and Tuesday with 28 companies to build 18 new solar photovoltaic plants, eight wind farms and two concentrating solar power plants to generate about 1 400 megawatts of renewable electricity.

Altogether, the government hopes to approve the installation of 3 700MW of renewable energy plants over the next eight years.

The energy ministry says they mark a first step towards moving away from fossil fuel power stations, reports Reuters.

“This represents a historic milestone in our country, and it is a demonstration of our departure from association with high greenhouse gas emissions, high water usage, health externalities and other environmental degradation,” said Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

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