equivalent households

The Desert Sun

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It was once the largest installed by ACCIONA in the world and the company's first achievement in the development of renewable energy in South Africa.

The Sishen plant in South Africa was the largest photovoltaic plant built by ACCIONA in the world and the plant that produced the most electricity in Africa, and its forecast annual generation is 216 GWh, making it the highest-producing photovoltaic plant in Africa with generation equivalent to the consumption of 100,000 South African homes.

The plant has a peak capacity of 94.2 megawatts (74 MW nominal), with 319,600 photovoltaic panels and if they were arranged in a straight line, the solar modules of Sishen would reach a length of 327 kilometers.



  • Location: Dibeng, Northern Cape (South Africa).
  • Peak capacity: 94.3 MWp.
  • Nominal capacity: 74 MW.
  • Technology: Photovoltaic solar with horizontal tracking.
  • Start-up: 2014.
  • Owners: ACCIONA (54.9%), Royal Bafokeng Holdings (25.1%), Soul City (10%), Dibeng Community Solar Energy Trust (10%).


  • Average annual production 216 GWh.
  • Clean energy equivalent to the demand of 100,000 South African homes.
  • 319,600 photovoltaic modules in 470 horizontal trackers
  • 327 kilometers of solar panels
  • 250 hectares covered
  • 208,000 metric tons of CO2 avoided per year
  • Local and community development programs.
  • More than 3,700 man/days/month, with 94% of the construction workers from South Africa

Key figures


megawatts of peak power


South African households


photovoltaic panels


tons of CO2 into the atmosphere avoided

216 GWh

Average annual production

Social impact management

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)

In 2013, ACCIONA completed its studies regarding the impact on the communities of the photovoltaic plant project of Sishen and the wind power facilities of Gouda, South Africa. 

These studies revealed a high rate of poverty and unemployment in the projects’ areas of influence. ACCIONA will work on these variables by fostering local employment through the state program Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which strives to achieve racial equality in South Africa.



    Standardization of cleaning groups for photovoltaic modules that do not require the use of water and do not cause any damage to the module surface for remote locations with water shortages.



      Sishen: where the sun's the limit

      The photovoltaic plant supplying clean energy to tens of thousands of South Africans is, in itself, a colossal feat of engineering. It was only relatively recently that the biggest, yet least populated, region of South Africa stepped out on its own. Until 1994, Northern Cape province came under the ward of Cape Province along with its two sisters, Eastern and Western Cape. Following an administrative split, the three went their own ways.