The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the SolarReserve consortium as the preferred bidder to build its two 75MW-DC Letsatsi and Lesedi solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

Along with SolarReserve, the consortium includes Kensani Group, an infrastructure development company and Intikon Energy, a developer of renewable energy projects.

The solar projects will be built in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa.

Wandile Motlana, Kensani Group chairman, said the projects will require an investment of more than $600m over the next two years.

The preferred bidder status provides the consortium with the right to proceed with carrying out the 20-year government-supported power purchase agreements with South African power utility, Eskom.

The first round of bidding granted 1,400MW of renewable energy projects, which included 632MW of photovoltaic projects and the SolarReserve/Kensani/Intikon consortium securing two projects.

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Stephen Donnelly, Intikon Energy managing director, said the Letsatsi and Lesedi PV projects will generate clean, renewable energy to power more than 50,000 households in South Africa.

"Construction of both PV projects will commence by June 2012 and will generate approximately 600 construction jobs and 100 permanent operational jobs," he said..

SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said the awarding of preferred bidder status for both the solar projects from the South Africa DOE is a substantial milestone for the company, which is looking to expand its diversified portfolio of photovoltaic and concentrated solar power projects (CSP) globally.

"We appreciate the support of the South African government; and look forward to working with our joint venture partners and the communities where the projects are, to contribute to the country’s renewable energy generation and economic development goals," said Smith.