Hogan Lovells has advised SOLA Group, a leading renewable energy solutions provider in South Africa, on the corporate aspects of its two 100-megawatt solar PV projects in South Africa.
These projects will generate power for Tronox Mineral Sands’ operations at five facilities in South Africa and are, to date, amongst the largest private energy generation projects (and first 100MW projects) registered by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. The projects reached financial close on 9 September 2022, and are expected to be constructed over a period of some 14-months.
Commenting on this, partner at Hogan Lovells, Chris Green, says: “We are delighted to have been involved in this significant energy deal in the South African market. Private power projects of this nature are key contributors to addressing South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis and ensuring a secure and reliable energy supply to South African industries, businesses and consumers alike. We would like to congratulate all parties involved in this transaction, particularly our client, SOLA Group”.
The registration of the projects in May follows the 2021 changes to the regulations promulgated under the national Electricity Regulation Act, 2006 (“ERA”), which permit private energy generation of up to 100MW to proceed without a license (the projects must still be registered with NERSA). This was, at the time, a welcome change as prior to this the license-free registration of a private project was capped at 1MW. The South African Government has since announced that these regulations will be further relaxed to remove any capacity cap on the licence-free registration of private power projects. In this regard, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy gazetted a proposed amendment to the ERA on 2 September 2022. The Licensing Exemption and Registration Notice is currently open for public comment. Interested persons are invited to comment before 1 October 2022.
The Hogan Lovells team is being led by Chris Green (Partner, M&A), with support from Lisa Botha (Counsel, M&A), Marlene Murphy (Senior Associate, M&A) and Jean Nel (Candidate Attorney, M&A), all based in Johannesburg. Pinsent Masons is advising SOLA Group as Sponsors legal advisor on all other aspects of the transaction.
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