Enel Green Power has connected South Africa's first PV solar power plant to the country's electricity network. Located in Upington in the Northern Cape Province, the facility marks the entry of the Enel Group – which is already present in Morocco through its subsidiary Endesa – into the Sub-Saharan African energy market. The new plant has an installed capacity of 10 megawatts, will be capable of generating up to 20 million kilowatt-hours per year and will satisfy the electricity needs of around a thousand South African households.
Following a government tender awarded to EGP in 2013, the company is planning to install over 300MW of PV solar and around 200MW of wind power capacity, which will make it the number one Group for installed capacity in the country.
Enel is choosing to invest in Africa because of its economic growth: seven of the 10 countries with the highest growth rates since 2011 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its population growth and abundance of resources are having a positive effect on energy demand and creating the ideal conditions for Enel's activities, in particular in the renewable energy sector.
According to the International Energy Agency, about 57 percent of the African population does not have access to electricity due to the lack of adequate infrastructure, and this number is on the increase. This makes renewable energy generation the most suitable option for much of the continent, as it can be used as part of localised network. In addition, renewable energy power plants require a shorter construction period and are the quickest way of meeting growing energy needs.
Investing in emerging markets plays a central role in Enel Green Power's 2014-2018 business plan. Enel is planning to begin a series of projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya and Uganda, countries that have a huge potential for the development of solar, wind and geothermal energy.