Teraco plans to build a 120MW solar farm in the Free State province of South Africa to help power its data centers.

The Digital Reality-owned provider has secured its first grid capacity allocation from South Africa’s state-owned electricity company Eskom.

teraco-ct2 cape town south africa
Teraco's Cape Town data center – Teraco

It says this will allow it to connect the planned 120MW solar facility to the national electrical grid. The power generated will then be transferred, or wheeled, across Eskom and municipal power networks to Teraco’s facilities around South Africa.

Reports Teraco was planning to invest in a solar farm surfaced last year.

Jan Hnizdo, CEO at Teraco, said: “This allocation is a significant step towards meeting our renewable energy ambitions and those of our clients. It is also only the first phase of our longer-term renewable energy commitment.

“We have been on a long journey over the last few years to obtain these approvals, and our aim now is to execute quickly on the opportunity.”

Hnizdo said the project presents “an incredible opportunity” for Teraco to meet its “near-term renewable energy goals” while adding additional power capacity to South Africa’s grid.

He said: “This will be a unique approach in Africa since Teraco will not only own its data centre facilities but also a significant renewable energy source with which to power them, creating a sustainable energy path to support growth.

“This initiative aligns with Teraco’s long-term vision of powering the digital transformation across Africa. South Africa’s solar resource is a source of competitive advantage for data centers relative to other locations.”

When fully operational, the 120MW solar PV plant is expected to produce more than 338,000MWh annually. Teraco has partnered with JUWI Renewable Energies South Africa and Subsolar to develop the plant, with JUWI appointed to design and manage the procurement, construction, and commissioning.

“This PV project represents a massive component of our plan to achieve our 100% clean energy goal,” said Bryce Allan, head of sustainability at Teraco. “In addition to this project, over the past two years, Teraco has deployed approximately 6MW of roof-top solar integrated into its facilities, and this is to be increased to 10MW as new facilities become operational.”

Founded in 2008, Teraco operates seven facilities in South Africa across Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, totaling 75MW and serving more than 600 customers. In November it broke ground on a new facility in Cape Town that will add an additional 30MW of capacity.

Digital Realty has owned a majority stake in Teraco since January 2022, when it completed a deal valuing the company at approximately $3.5 billion.