Teraco secures grid capacity allocation for 120MW utility-scale solar development in South Africa

Teraco: A Digital Realty Company, Africa’s largest interconnection hub and vendor-neutral data centre provider, has announced that it has secured its first grid capacity allocation from Eskom and will commence construction of a 120MW utility-scale solar PV energy facility in the Free State province of South Africa.

The grid capacity allocation from Eskom enables Teraco to connect its planned 120MW solar facility to the national electrical grid. The power generated will be wheeled across Eskom and municipal power networks to Teraco’s facilities across South Africa.

“This allocation is a significant step towards meeting our renewable energy ambitions and those of our clients. It is also only the first phase of our longer-term renewable energy commitment. We have been on a long journey over the last few years to obtain these approvals, and our aim now is to execute quickly on the opportunity,” says Jan Hnizdo, CEO at Teraco.

“In South Africa, we have various energy challenges, and this presents an incredible opportunity to meet our near-term renewable energy goals while adding additional power capacity to a generation constrained grid. This will be a unique approach in Africa since Teraco will not only own its data centre facilities but also a significant renewable energy source with which to power them, creating a sustainable energy path to support growth. This initiative aligns with Teraco’s long-term vision of powering the digital transformation across Africa. South Africa’s solar resource is a source of competitive advantage for data centres relative to other locations,” he adds.

When fully operational, the 120MW solar PV plant is expected to produce more than 338,000 MWh annually. “This PV project represents a massive component of our plan to achieve our 100% clean energy goal,” says Bryce Allan, Head of Sustainability at Teraco. “In addition to this project, over the past two years, Teraco has deployed approximately 6MW of roof-top solar integrated into its facilities, and this amount is to be increased to 10MW as new facilities become operational.” As part of construction design, Teraco facilities are built to maximise their solar yield potential.

Teraco has partnered with JUWI Renewable Energies South Africa and Subsolar to develop the 120MW solar PV plant, with JUWI appointed to design and manage the procurement, construction, and commissioning. In a first for Teraco, a green loan has been raised to finance the building of the plant. Choosing the right partners has been crucial to delivering on Teraco’s renewable energy strategy and vision.

Wheeling renewable energy across electrical grids enables power to be moved from a renewable energy producer in outlying areas via existing transmission and distribution systems to end-users located in urban areas. It also enables the deployment of renewable energy projects to areas with high energy yield to maximise renewable energy generation potential.

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