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South African Data-Center Specialist To Build 120 MW Solar Plant

Photovoltaic power plant on a roof

Teraco, an operator of data centers, has secured its first grid-capacity allocation from South African state-owned utility Eskom. It will soon start building a 120 MW utility-scale PV plant in South Africa’s Free State province to power its facilities.


Teraco is moving forward with plans to build a 120 MW utility-scale solar project in South Africa.

The company has secured a grid-capacity allocation from state-owned utility Eskom to connect the project to South Africa’s electrical grid. Once it is fully operational, the PV plant in Free State province is expected to produce more than 338,000 MWh of electricity per year.

News outlets in South Africa have reported that Teraco will spend approximately ZAR 2 billion ($106 million) to complete the project. The plant is expected to be operational within 18 months.

Teraco said the power will be wheeled across Eskom and municipal power networks to its data centers across South Africa.

“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,” said Teraco CEO Jan Hnizdo.

Hnizdo said that the project presents an “incredible opportunity” to add additional power capacity to South Africa’s 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,” he added.

Teraco has appointed JUWI Renewable Energies South Africa to design and manage the procurement, construction and commissioning of the plant. It will use a green loan to finance construction.

Bryce Allan, Teraco’s head of sustainability, said the project represents a “massive component” of the company’s plan to achieve 100% clean energy.

“In addition to this project, over the past two years, Teraco has deployed approximately 6 MW of roof-top solar integrated into its facilities, and this amount is to be increased to 10 MW as new facilities become operational,” Allan said.

Earlier this month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the country had overcome the worst of its power shortages, and claimed that the end of load shedding is “finally within reach.”

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