Optimising the concentrating solar power potential in South Africa through an improved gis analysis
journal contributionposted on 16.08.2021, 08:54 by DF Duvenhage, Alan BrentAlan Brent, WHL Stafford, D Van Den Heever
Renewable Energy Technologies are rapidly gaining uptake in South Africa, already having more than 3900 MW operational wind, solar PV, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and biogas capacity. CSP has the potential to become a leading Renewable Energy Technology, as it is the only one inherently equipped with the facility for large-scale thermal energy storage for increased dispatchability. There are many studies that aim to determine the potential for CSP development in certain regions or countries. South Africa has a high solar irradiation resource by global standards, but few studies have been carried out to determine the potential for CSP. One such study was conducted in 2009, prior to any CSP plants having been built in South Africa. As part of a broader study to determine the impact of CSP on South Africa's water resources, a geospatial approach was used to optimise this potential based on technological changes and improved spatial data. A tiered approach, using a comprehensive set of criteria to exclude unsuitable areas, was used to allow for the identification of suitable areas, as well as the modelling of electricity generation potential. It was found that there is more than 104 billion m2 of suitable area, with a total theoretical potential of more than 11,000 TWh electricity generating capacity.