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South Africa municipality launches first solar energy project

In line with eThekwini Municipality’s dedication to cut its carbon footprint and use natural energy to generate electricity, the new City launched its Solar energy project at the Ushaka Marine World Theme Park.

Also read:New solar park opened at uShaka Marine World in South Africa

The project has seen the installation of Solar PV panels on five municipal buildings as a lead project that intends to encourage the use of embedded rooftop solar PV generation in eThekwini and decrease the reliance on the national energy grid.

The solar energy project also serves as an example for the private sector and other municipalities to learn from.

The Municipality, as a leader in climate change alleviation and adaptation projects, initiated the project to as well offer opportunities for learning about PV installations.

The project will facilitate learning about numerous aspects such as electricity generation profiles at different times of the day and year of the different technologies and sizes, quality control, monitoring and evaluation of electricity. The lessons learnt will feed into policy development to increase the number of renewable energy installations in eThekwini.

Cllr Thando Khumalo, Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, who represented the mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede at the launch said the City remains dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“Such installations go a long way in advancing awareness on the benefits of renewable energy. In the long haul, the city expects to increase the programme and hopes that residents and more trade will take up the use of renewable energy that will place out city on a really sustainable path,” she said.

The energy generated by the solar PV System is used by operations of the buildings ensuing in energy saving by decreasing building energy demand. Metro Police, Sky Car, People’s Park and Water and Sanitation Department are projected to save 137.4MWh, 6.84MWh, 40.43MWh, and 76.68MWh correspondingly in a year.

The Energy Office Solar project consists of roof-top mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which are made of cells that transform sunlight to Direct Current (DC) electricity.

The DC power is transformed to Alternating Current (AC) by inverters and the AC power is utilized on electrical equipment/loads within the buildings. The system is a grid-tied system with no batteries, meaning any power produced by solar panels subtracts from what the buildings are using from the grid/eThekwini Electricity.

This is gotten by specialized and advanced inverters. The project lines up with Plan Eight in the City’s Integrated Development plan which generate a fiscally accountable and sustainable city.


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