Work is soon to begin on a $1bn concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in South Africa, the project’s developers said this week.

US-based SolarReserve and Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power are jointly undertaking the 100 MW Redstone solar thermal project. SolarReserve’s vice-president Terence Govender said at a media briefing this week that construction will begin by September.

The project is planned to feature 12 hours of full-load thermal storage capacity and is expected to power around 200,000 South African households during peak demand times.

SolarReserve said the plant will feature dry cooling in order to minimize water use.

“Due to the fully integrated thermal energy storage, the plant will provide dispatchable power on demand, just like conventional coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants,” Govender said. 

The Redstone plant will be located in the town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape province and will be built next to two existing solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, the 96 MW Lesesdi plant and the 75 MW Jasper plant. In combination, SolarReserve said the plants represent the world’s first combined PV and CSP solar park.