South Africa woos investors for world’s biggest solar plant

South Africa wooed investors Thursday for what could become the world’s largest solar project, built on the edge of the Kalahari Desert to provide an eighth of the country’s electricity. More than 400 investors and solar industry insiders from as far away as India, South Korea, Spain and the United States descended on the tiny town of Upington in South Africa’s arid Northern Cape province for a conference aimed at laying the groundwork for a 5,000-Megawatt solar park. Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said the park, whose estimated price tag is 150 billion rands (21.3 billion dollars, 15.4 billion euros), would be funded mainly by private developers that would finance and build individual projects and sell power to the national grid. She called the park a “win-win” project that would move South Africa toward a green economy and help break its long-time dependence on coal — currently about 90 percent of the country’s energy mix — while giving investors a share in one of the world’s best locations for solar power.