Monday, September 7, 2015

KaXu Solar One,Kai Ma municipality, Northern Cape

The N14 from Upington to Pofadder and Springbok
This is an area of South Africa that, until recently,
was best known for flowers than for producing
sustainable alternate energy.

Just in case travelers are uncertain where they are...

Director, Alan Glass, making sure of the camera angle.

This is what has brought "fame" to the area,
 a concentrated solar thermal plant.
The collector surface covers more than 800000 sq m (8,600,000 sq ft)
with a storage capacity of 2.5 hours
This project is part of the Independent Power Producer
Procurement Program.
It is designed to contribute towards socio-economic
and environmentally sustainable growth.

As the plant was only commissioned early in 2015,
it is still shiny and new...

Bright steel-work and yellow ladders
make this look like and art installation
rather than an energy producing plant

One of the electricians on site...
There are a mixture of local and international workers employed here

The project has been developed by the Spanish company Abengoa,
and financed with help from Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) 
and Community Trust group.

Michael Maasdorp,
Economic Development officer at Abengoa.
This Spanish company has been instrumental in cleaning up
the blocked drainage canals within the community.
They have also given the locals a share in the business.
When dividends are declared, the inhabitants will be beneficiaries.

The local community has benefited from work opportunities at the plant.
There are "job-shadowing" opportunities,
that have up-skilled the local workforce employed at KaXu.

Part of the vast solar array.

Stretches over 1,100 hectares (2,718 acres)
Literally as far as the eye can see.

Solar One is capable of producing 100MW that can be fed
into the national electricity grid.

Part of the local community in Pofadder.
All of the locals that I interacted with were happy to chat
and share their stories of how the town has benefited from KaXu

Looks like at least two of the locals are cashing in
on the influx of workers at KaXu.
Transport AND catering,
a good call!

Oom Gert Watt, at 81, is still active...
He has lived here all his life.
Since the arrival of KaXu he has seen positive changes
to the local community and the town.

Lakus van Rooi who stopped to chat.
He was the mayor of Pofadder from 2008 to 2009.
He was very positive about the changes that Pofadder could benefit from.
However, he did say that there have been some "challenges",
but these could be overcome.

Luise Niemoller was born and schooled in Pofadder.
She moved away in 1970, but returned in 2011.
Her father, who died in 2015, was a pillar of the community
and a highly successful businessman in the area.
Aside from running her shop, she works for Pofadder Tourism,
making certain that the town gets onto the tourism map.
She is positive about the role that KaXu can play
in the upliftment of the population of this small town.
She too believes that there are "challenges" that have to be overcome,
but with true South African spirit, they will be turned around
and the town will boom again.
And what is one of the benefits of having the KaXu Solar One
close to town...
"No load shedding!"

I can see vast numbers of South Africans looking to buy property here soon.
A great place to "get off the grid"...

Many thanks to the staff in Upington for their excellent service
Europcar, the official car rental supplier
to "Travel & Things"


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