#EcoTravels: SA's 4 main international airports mapped for carbon neutrality plan

2017-06-27 08:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - South African travellers can proudly say they are one step closer to flying as eco-friendly as possible, as four of South Africa's international airports have met the necessary international requirements to achieve Level 1 Airport Carbon Accreditation.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) told Traveller24 that OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Port Elizabeth International Airport have met the entry level standards of the ACA programme to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) - the only institutionally endorsed, global carbon management certification programme for airports.

There are only six accredited African airports at Level 1  Mapping of the ACA programme, of which four are in South Africa and two in Morocco - in total this represents 25.6% of African air passenger traffic.

Added to this Acsa plans to convert Bram Fischer Airport (Bloemfontein), East London and Port Elizabeth to solar power by the end of 2017.

"Ultimately the solar conversion programme will be part of achieving this accreditation on an airport-by-airport basis. The company aims to have its other airports - Bram Fischer, Upington, Kimberley, George and East London - achieve Level 1 Airport Carbon Accreditation within the next year," says Acsa.

ALSO SEE: 6 Iconic SA attractions to get solar power boost

"As the leading airport authority in Africa, our corporate strategy is underpinned by a focus on sustainability in all that we do and the environment is one of our core areas of sustainability. As such, we are delighted with this achievement and are proud of the work that these four international airports have done to achieve this grading."

"Achieving Level 1 ACA accreditation is an important milestone on the journey to becoming carbon neutral. It is our goal for all of our airports to achieve an Airport Carbon Accreditation rating and we continue to strive to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment," Acsa adds.

SA's 3 current solar-powered airports

"In February last year, Airports Company South Africa launched its first 200 square meter solar power plant at George Airport in the Southern Cape, which supplies 750Kw of power to the airport," says Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).

This was followed by Kimberley Airport in May 2016, "where a 11kV substation is set to produce approximately 927 000 kilowatt hours per year" according to Acsa.

"Then in July 2016, Airports Company unveiled its third solar power plant at Upington Airport in the Northern Cape, which will deliver approximately 1 040 500 kilowatt hours of power per annum to meet the operational needs of the airport," says Acsa.


The 200 square metre solar plant, located on the George Airport grounds, was built at a cost of R16 million.

"The first phase, which is now complete, will supply 41% of the airport’s current energy demand, while the balance will be drawn from the national grid with supply capacity steadily being increased as per demand factors. The plant is designed to deliver 750Kw power to the airport once complete," says Acsa.


Kimberly Airport's 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 was completed within 24 weeks at a cost of R12.7 million. "During the 24-week construction period five permanent and 26 temporary employment opportunities were created," adds Acsa.

"Using photovoltaic 1620 PV panels and 18 inverters, solar radiation energy is converted into electricity. The plant is designed to deliver 500 KWp of peak production per year," says Acsa.


The solar farm is located on 0.66 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 Upington Airport was completed at a cost of R12.2 million. The solar plant uses 1620 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and 18 inverters to convert solar radiation into electricity.

"The capacity of the Upington solar plant is 500 kilowatts of peak production per year. The electricity generated from the plant will be distributed to the airport power grid and will ensure that the airport is self-sustaining in terms of power needs," says Acsa.

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