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SolarReserve Seeks South African Plants, Expansion Into MidEast

SolarReserve LLC, a closely held U.S. power plant developer, will bid to build two solar plants in South Africa and plans to expand into the Middle East.

Business in the Persian Gulf available for developers is in the “hundreds of megawatts, moving to the thousands of megawatts over the next five to six years,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith said in an interview in Dubai. “The big wildcard is the Saudi market and whether it starts to develop in the next two to three years or if it takes longer.”

The developer, based in Santa Monica, California, wants to build the two South African plants with ACWA Power International of Saudi Arabia, Smith said May 6. They may hear by June whether they’ve won the first project, and will bid on the second in August, he said. SolarReserve has three plants in the country.

African and Middle Eastern nations are looking to renewable energy to diversify power generation and reduce their use of oil and natural gas. SolarReserve opened an office in Dubai this year to increase its access to projects in the region.

It’s studying whether to bid for a 100 megawatt facility in Dubai and looking at projects in Jordan, Smith said. The company expects to hear by the end of the year whether it, GDF Suez unit International Power Ltd. and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar have won the right to build a 100-megawatt solar-tower plant in Morocco.

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