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Teraco ‘wheels’ 120MW solar power via Eskom

The data centre operator has secured its first grid capacity allocation from Eskom, allowing it to supply its own power from a Free State plant.

The Teraco vendor-neutral data centre provider has secured its first grid capacity allocation from Eskom, allowing it to build a 120MW solar energy facility in the Free State – and “wheel” it to Gauteng and other provinces via the national electrical grid.

“This allocation is a significant step towards meeting our renewable energy ambitions and those of our clients,” says Jan Hnizdo, CEO at Teraco. “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.

“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.”

When fully operational, the 120MW solar PV plant is expected to produce more than 338,000 MWh annually. 

Bryce Allan, head of sustainability at Teraco, says: “This PV project represents a massive component of our plan to achieve our 100% clean energy goal. 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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