Total Chosen for $200 Million Africa Solar Power Project

Total SA, majority owner of U.S. photovoltaic manufacturer SunPower Corp., was selected by South Africa’s Department of Energy as the preferred bidder for a $200 million solar project.

SunPower will build the 86-megawatt solar farm in Prieska, in Northern Cape province, Paris-based Total said today in a statement. It’s expected to be complete in mid-2015 and will provide enough power for about 45,000 people.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which supplies 95 percent of the country’s power, has agreed to buy the electricity. The state electric company uses coal to generate 85 percent of its power.

Total will be the largest owner of the project with a 27 percent stake. The rest will be owned by five companies including South Africa’s Calulo Investments Pty with 25 percent and Mulilo Renewable Energy with 18 percent.

Financing is expected to close by mid-2014, with South African banks providing non-recourse loans to cover 80 percent of the costs and the owners contributing the rest in equity.

Total owns 65 percent of San Jose, California-based SunPower, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.