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1 August 20223 minute read

DLA Piper advises on the refinancing of Africa’s sole concentrated photovoltaic solar plant

DLA Piper has advised CPV Power Plant No.1 (CPV1), the project company for the 44 MWp concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar plant in Touwsrivier in the Western Cape, in relation to the refinancing of the only listed project bond of its type in South Africa.

Ronald Chindeka, Senior Manager: Project Finance, Pele Green Energy, comments: “Pele appreciates the stellar work from the DLA Piper team in this important transaction, not just in concluding the transaction but also helping navigate the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s refinance protocol guidelines alongside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange requirements, ensuring a successful migration away from the bond finance into a project finance structure. The transaction results in the reduction in the tariff charged to Eskom (South Africa’s electricity utility), which shows the contribution that such projects can have towards the national agenda.”

CPV1, one of the world’s largest solar concentrated photovoltaic plants and the only one on the African continent, is majority owned by Pele Green Energy (Pele), a black owned Independent Power Producer that develops, owns, procures, constructs and operates renewable energy power projects in South Africa and Africa. The plant consists of 1,500 dual-axis solar tracking systems with a total of 18,000 modules over its 190 hectare site. It powers roughly 26,000 homes each year and has reduced CO2 emissions by 69 tonnes on average per year when compared to coal-fired power plants in South Africa. Additionally, the project has created 733 jobs during its construction and the plant currently employs 44 permanent staff.

Jamie MacDonald, lead partner on the transaction, commented: “We are very proud to have advised CPV1, and would like to congratulate everyone involved on closing this complex refinancing of a unique project in the South African market. We would also like to thank Pele for entrusting us with this important mandate, and look forward to continuing to support Pele in South Africa and the rest of Africa.”

Following its development, and as a result of Pele’s involvement, the Touwsrivier community has benefited from 55 bursaries and 59 internships being granted, the development of 63 start-up enterprises, 38 SMEs being mentored and three solar PV systems installed at schools. There have also been investments into two agricultural initiatives as well as the development of a community resource centre called the 4-Rooms of Freedom.

The Johannesburg-based team was led by partner Jamie MacDonald and included director Pride Jani, associate Byron Bromham and candidate attorney Mathabo Mohwaduba.