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Enel Green Power’s Tom Burke solar plant in Limpopo is the company’s first facility to be declared a national key point by the South African Police Service (SAPS). This status was awarded as a result of the important role the photovoltaic (PV) plant plays in delivering energy to the national grid and supplying electricity to Limpopo.

With an installed capacity of 66MW, Tom Burke started operations in August 2016. It is situated on 202 hectares of land and can generate up to 122GWh per year, equivalent to the annual consumption needs of around 38 000 South African households. The site was recently dedicated by representatives from Enel Green Power and members of the community in which it operates.

Tom Burke PV plant declared national key point

According to the company, hundreds of jobs have been created for local communities since the construction of the plant. Enel has also partnered with non-profit organisation mothers2mothers to extend support to women at four sites in the Limpopo province, reaching approximately 13 785 women.

“South Africa has enormous renewable energy potential, and in particular for solar, thanks to sites that have some of the highest solar radiation levels in the world. These natural resources are what brought Enel Green Power to South Africa,” William Price, Enel Green Power's country manager for South Africa, said at the dedication ceremony.

“South Africa is a resource-rich country and we are proud to provide a strong renewable energy generation base. By harnessing renewable energy sources we can improve electrification in Southern Africa and incorporate current and available technologies to bridge the gap between supply and demand for energy in a sustainable way.”

Enel first began operations locally in 2014 and the company already has a significant presence in the South African market, with more than 520MW of wind and solar projects in operation. It currently owns and operates five PV plants in South Afric: Paleisheuwel (82.5MW), which is situated in the Western Cape province; Tom Burke (66MW) in the Limpopo province; Upington (10MW) and Adams (82.5MW) in the Northern Cape province; and Pulida (82.5MW) in the Free State province. The company also operates the 88MW Nojoli and 111MW Gibson Bay wind farms in the Eastern Cape.

“It is fitting that we are in Limpopo, which, as South Africa's northernmost province, is known as the gateway to the rest of Africa. Based on our significant presence in the South African market, we are now expanding north into the rest of Africa in a bid to improve the energy security in those markets where too few people still have no access to electricity,” Price said.

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