Pretoria - Power utility Eskom signed a loan for about R1.9bn on Monday that will finance the building of South Africa’s largest solar energy and wind power generation projects.
Signing the guarantee, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said South Africa had “a huge comparative advantage” when it came to solar power generation.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said the loan was an indication that there was “great investor confidence in South Africa".
The 40-year loan, signed in Pretoria, will help finance the building of a 100 megawatt solar power plant near Upington and the 100 MW Sere wind farm near Vredendal in the Western Cape.
The 200 MW capacity of the two power plants could generate enough electricity to power 200 000 homes.
Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said the wind farm would be completed by 2013 and the the solar farm a year later in 2014.
Repayments on the loan will start in 10 years. It is expected to be paid off over the following 30 years at an interest rate of 0.25% annually on the amounts dispersed.
The loan was approved by the World Bank on October 27 and comes from its clean technology fund.
Eskom has already received more than R700m from the African Development Bank for the two projects, which will be the largest in South Africa.
The loans are being guaranteed by the South African government.
It is hoped that each project will reduce South Africa’s carbon emissions by five million tonnes a year.