Cape Town - Airports Company South Africa is steaming ahead with its plans to green South Africa's airports
On Friday 13 May, Kimberley Airport in the Northern Cape, joined George Airport in becoming South Africa's second airport to use on solar power.
The opening ceremony was attended and officiated by
the Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, with the department stating its latest move demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development.
In line with the
South African government’s developmental imperatives, energy security and
diversification of the energy matrix remains a key priority to ensure
sustainability of economic activity and demonstrate consideration for the
The solar farm is located on 0.7 hectares of land
within the airport precinct and uses an 11kV substation as it its main source
of supply, which is also located on the airport’s land.
The construction of the plant
at Kimberley Airport started in September 2015 and was completed within 24
weeks on 18 April 2016 at a cost of R13.5 million. Using photovoltaic 1620 PV panels and 18
inverters, solar radiation energy is converted into electricity. The plant is designed to
KWp of peak production per year.
The plant uses an 11kV substation as it its main
source of supply, which is also located on the airport’s land. To date the
plant has generated 141 870 kWh and is forecasted to produced
approximately 927 000 kilowatt hours per year. During the 24-week
construction period five permanent and 26 temporary employment opportunities
were created. In addition, rigorous practical training and skills transfer to
operate and maintain the PV plant was conducted which included cleaning
modules, replacing malfunctioning electrical components and monitoring
performance of PV plant, amongst other technical skills.
The completion of the solar power
plant at Kimberley Airport forms part of Airports Company South Africa’s
broader plan to install solar farms at all its six regional. George, Kimberley
and Upington Airport’s plants have already been completed and commissioned.
other three remaining regional airports are: Port Elizabeth International
Airport, East London Airport and Bram Fischer International Airport in
Greening initiatives across SA - #FutureIsClean: SA's plans to reduce global warming
In April, Minister Molewa signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement on behalf of the South African Government – an agreement that is universally regarded as a seminal point in the development of the international climate change regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
It represents a comprehensive framework, which will guide international efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to meet all the associated challenges posed by climate change. It signals the dramatic change in pace towards the low carbon development from 2020 onwards through commitments of countries in ambitious national plans called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
Solar power forms a big part of South Africa's NDC. Added to this, during his annual Tourism budget speech Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom told that solar powered initiatives will be launches at 6 iconic SA attractions, in a bid to step off the grid.
ALSO SEE:6 Iconic SA attractions to get solar power boost
Recognising the environmental and cost benefits of moving towards renewable energy, the Tourism Department says it is supporting major destinations to install renewable energy sources as part of the Tourism Incentive Program.
Heavy investment of R32.8bn and climbing
According to SA's NDc plan, the country is already investing heavily in transforming its energy sector. At the heart of this part of the transition to a low-carbon energy sector is a complete transformation of the future energy mix, which is designed to replace an inefficient fleet of ageing coal-fired power plants with clean and high efficiency technology going forward, says the DEA.
South Africa is investing about 6% of what would be the upper end of the costs of its adaptation per annum for the period 2021 to 2030 – totalling US$ 2.31 bn (about R32.8bn @ R14.23/$) in 2015.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- #FutureIsClean: SA's plans to reduce global warming
- PICS: George's 'off the grid' airport a major accolade for Africa
- Greening the Cape: 3 Exciting initiatives