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Steel fabricator wins renewables-related contracts

Steel, tube and pipe manufacturer Robor has been contracted to supply the steel for two large 75 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, which have been selected in the first round of bids under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

The two projects, Letsatsi and Lesedi, are situated in Bloemfontein and Postmasburg respectively, and will be completed within 18 months from the day that construction starts. The total cost of the two solar PV developments is R 5.15-billion, making the two projects the largest in renewable energy on the continent.

The projects are two of the 18 solar PV projects selected by the Department of Energy for the REIPPPP. Further bidding rounds are expected every six months to allocate the total 3 725 MW.

In line with the country’s long-term power plan, South Africa aims to secure 17 800 MW of renewable energy, or 42% of South Africa’s new generation capacity, by 2030.

A consortium led by international contractors ACS Cobra, along with Madrid-based Gransolar and South Africa’s Kensani Energy EPC, is responsible for the construction work.

The REIPPPP aims to reduce the impact of electricity generation on the environment and to diversify the country’s energy mix by encouraging independent power producers to develop the country’s renewable-energy resources.

Robor’s senior executives visited solar farms and steel component manufacturers in Spain and Germany to get a better understanding of how Robor could position itself to support the solar industry.

The ability to provide guarantees and ensure short delivery lead times positioned Robor as a frontrunner for steel supply.

The Cobra and Gransolar representative says it was necessary to partner with a South African company, as government emphasised localisation, broad-based black economic empowerment, community upliftment and job creation.

“South African companies must compete in the global arena and are challenged with high input costs and stringent environmental practices,” says Robor Structural Solutions division MD Indiran Gounden.

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