Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest lender, underwrote more than 8.2 billion rand ($1 billion) of wind and solar projects in the first round of South Africa’s $12 billion renewable energy program.
The government yesterday approved 28 projects to add 1,416 megawatts as the power-short country expands generation capacity while reducing its reliance on coal-fired power.
Standard Bank underwrote 605 megawatts, or about 43 percent of the total, in the 26 billion-rand first round, Alastair Campbell, head of power finance at Johannesburg-based Standard, said by phone today. It’s one of the largest, if not the largest lender in the first round, Campbell said.
Nedbank said yesterday it underwrote about 6 billion rand.
“All the indications are that we are going to be twice as busy on bid day two,” he said. The deadline for bids to be submitted in the second round is in March. Standard underwrote 3.7 billion rand of wind projects and 4.6 billion rand of photovoltaic solar plants in the first round.
South Africa invited bids on Aug. 3 to add 3,725 megawatts by the end of 2016 and at an estimated cost of $10 billion to $12 billion, Department of Energy Director General Nelisiwe Magubane said Aug. 31. State-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has a virtual monopoly on electricity supplies, accounting for about 95 percent.
The first project approvals mean that “private sector coming into the market is happening,” Campbell said. “It’s been talked about for a long time. It’s the first large-scale step that hopefully signifies that there will be more.”
Standard Bank is providing funding for the 75 megawatt Solar Capital De Aar (Pty) Ltd. project and 135 megawatts ACED Cookhouse wind project among others.
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