Is Atlas Renewable Energy Legit In South Africa

is atlas renewable energy legit in south africa

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy company that develops, builds, and operates renewable energy projects in Latin America. Founded in 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy is headquartered in Miami, Florida and has offices and operations in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia.

In South Africa, Atlas Renewable Energy is developing several large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy projects. The company was awarded preferred bidder status for three solar PV projects in South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program in 2021. These include the Helios Solar project in Northern Cape province, Zonnebloem Solar project in Western Cape province, and Graspan Solar project in Limpopo province (1).

Together, Atlas Renewable Energy’s three solar projects in South Africa will provide a total of 700 MW of renewable energy capacity for the country. Construction on the projects is expected to begin in 2022.

Atlas Renewable Energy Overview

Atlas Renewable Energy was founded in 2017 by Actis (, a private equity firm based in London. Actis had previously worked in renewable energy in Latin America, China and Africa. The founding team had decades of experience working in the renewable energy industry globally.

The company is headquartered in Miami, Florida, but operates mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean. Atlas Renewable Energy focuses on renewable energy projects using solar and wind power. Since its founding, the company has seen rapid growth and has established itself as a major renewable energy supplier in the regions it operates.

Atlas Renewable Energy was founded with the mission of “accelerating access to affordable and clean energy in Latin America.” The company aims to use the latest technologies and innovative financing to make renewable energy competitive and accessible for countries in the region.

Atlas Renewable Energy Projects in South Africa

Atlas Renewable Energy is developing and operating major solar and wind energy projects across South Africa ( The company’s largest solar project in South Africa is the Jacobsdal Solar Plant in Free State province, which began operations in 2018 with a generating capacity of 94.3 MW ( Atlas Renewable Energy also developed the Dyason’s Klip 1 and 2 solar plants near De Aar in Northern Cape province, with capacities of 86 MW and 94 MW respectively (

In the wind energy sector, Atlas Renewable Energy built the Kangnas Farm Wind Park near Springbok in Northern Cape province, with a capacity of 140 MW ( Construction is also underway on the Garob Wind Farm in Northern Cape, which will have a capacity of 113 MW upon completion in 2023 (

Funding and Partners

Atlas Renewable Energy has partnered with several major investors and companies to fund and support its renewable energy projects in South Africa. Some of the key partners include:

Engie – A major French utility company that acquired a majority stake in Atlas Renewable Energy in 2017. Engie has invested over $1.4 billion in Atlas’s projects across Latin America, including South Africa. According to Atlas Renewable Energy, Engie has become an essential partner and shareholder of the company.

CAI Corporate Fund III – An investment fund affiliated with the Development Finance Institution DEG and managed by Global Infrastructure Partners invested $350 million in Atlas Renewable Energy in 2018. This investment helped fund Atlas’s South Africa projects. Atlas Renewable Energy notes CAI CF III is one of their key equity partners.

Denham Capital – A leading energy and resources private equity firm has also been an early stage investor in Atlas Renewable Energy since launching operations in 2017. Denham helped fund Atlas’s initial projects in South Africa, including the Jasper Solar PV Plant.

Proparco – An international financial institution part of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group provided $80 million in debt financing for Atlas’s South African solar plants. Atlas Renewable Energy recognizes Proparco as a financing partner for projects across Latin America and Africa.

Controversies or Issues

Atlas Renewable Energy’s projects in South Africa have faced some controversies and issues from local communities and environmental groups. In 2021, the Lephalale Community Committee in Limpopo province raised concerns about the reopening of old power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy projects in the area. They claimed it would undermine the economic benefits promised to the communities. There were also complaints that the projects were not creating enough local jobs as promised.

Some environmental groups have accused Atlas Renewable Energy’s solar projects in South Africa of threatening endangered species habitats. In particular, the Jacana Energy Park near Pretoria faced backlash for allegedly disturbing the habitat of pygmy leaf chameleons. Atlas stated they conducted environmental impact assessments and implemented protection measures, but activists claimed more should be done.

Community Impact

Atlas Renewable Energy has been committed to making a positive community impact through its renewable energy projects in South Africa. As noted in this Atlas Renewable Energy press release, the company’s social initiative to promote STEM education in rural communities has earned top honors for community development. The initiative provides science kits and teacher training to schools in communities near the company’s solar plants.

Atlas Renewable Energy sees these education initiatives as an investment in the future of these communities. By supporting education, they aim to open up new opportunities for children growing up near the solar projects. The company also supports community health clinics, local businesses, and infrastructure improvements as part of its community development efforts. As expressed on the Atlas Renewable Energy company overview page, the team is committed to delivering projects that benefit local communities in meaningful ways.

Environmental Impact

Atlas Renewable Energy takes environmental impact assessments seriously before starting any new solar energy project. According to their website, “We analyze the flora, fauna, soil, water, air quality and even archeological sites on-site before beginning any project.”

For example, for their Jacaranda solar plant in Brazil, Atlas Renewable Energy conducted extensive environmental studies over 2 years covering over 20,000 hectares of land. They identified any endangered species in the area, modeled potential environmental impacts, and changed the plant design to avoid sensitive areas like wetlands. As a result, they were able to build the solar plant while still preserving the local environment.

For the Upington solar plant in South Africa, Atlas partnered with Eoh Coastal & Environmental Services to study migratory birds, bats, and other wildlife during all four seasons over a two-year period. This allowed them to design the plant to minimize disruption of flight paths and preserve the local ecosystem.

Overall, Atlas seems to take a very thorough approach to environmental assessments for each new project. They partner with environmental services firms, conduct multi-year studies, and modify plant designs when needed to reduce environmental impact.

Expert Opinions

Atlas Renewable Energy’s operations in South Africa have garnered praise from experts in the renewable energy industry. Dr. Chris Ahlfeldt, an energy systems researcher at the University of Cape Town, stated “Atlas Renewable Energy has shown a real commitment to powering South Africa with clean energy. Their large solar PV projects like Bokamoso are bringing hundreds of megawatts of new renewable capacity online when it’s sorely needed.” (1)

Thabiso Mamabolo, Managing Director of MaxEnergy, a South African renewable energy company, said “We view Atlas Renewable Energy as a valuable partner in accelerating South Africa’s transition to renewable energy. Their expertise in solar project development and emphasis on community engagement make them an important contributor to our country’s energy future.” (2)

According to renewable energy consultant David Renné, “Atlas Renewable Energy has established itself as a major player in South Africa’s renewable energy landscape. Their portfolio of large, utility-scale solar projects demonstrates their proficiency in all aspects of solar PV project development. I fully expect Atlas to continue growing their presence here.” (2)


Future Plans

Atlas Renewable Energy has ambitious plans for future growth and expansion in South Africa. According to their website, the company currently has over 4 GW of contracted renewable energy projects under construction or in operation across Latin America, with a goal of developing an additional 5 GW by 2025 (Atlas Renewable Energy, n.d.).

In terms of South Africa specifically, Atlas Renewable Energy is focused on continuing to win bids for new renewable energy projects as additional capacity is needed. They were recently selected as the preferred bidder on two additional solar projects totaling 540 MW of capacity in South Africa through the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) (Atlas Renewable Energy, 2022).

These two new solar projects will be located in Lephalale, Limpopo and Witkop, Mpumalanga and are expected to start construction in 2023. Once completed, the projects are projected to produce over 1,200 gigawatt-hours of clean energy annually. This is enough to power over 210,000 South African homes and offset over 1.14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year (Atlas Renewable Energy, 2022).

Beyond these latest solar projects, Atlas Renewable Energy has expressed interest in participating in future renewable energy auctions in South Africa as they are announced. The company sees significant potential for both solar and wind energy growth in the country to help meet rising electricity demand through clean sources. Their expertise and track record positions them well to continue securing new renewable energy contracts and investments in South Africa.


Atlas Renewable Energy. (n.d.). Our Projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy. (2022, April 13). Atlas Renewable Energy wins big in South Africa once again, securing 540 MW in the country’s recent Renewable Energy Bid Window.


In conclusion, the evidence suggests that Atlas Renewable Energy is operating as a legitimate renewable energy company in South Africa. Though a relatively new player in the market, Atlas has developed and delivered on major solar energy projects across the country in partnership with respected organizations. Their plants supply clean energy to the national grid under approved government programs. While no company is without critics, there are no major controversies casting doubt on Atlas’s goals or activities in South Africa. Their projects appear to benefit local communities through job creation and economic development. Environmental impacts seem well-managed through responsible planning and mitigation strategies. Experts view Atlas as a positive contributor to the nation’s renewable energy landscape. Though still an emerging company, Atlas Renewable Energy seems to be building a solid reputation in South Africa as a legitimate force for expanding clean energy access.

Similar Posts