It is exciting times for the world of solar, with the gathering of great momentum in both the interest and use of this renewable energy source. Recent developments, over and above the solar project at our very own Black River Park, saw the Northern Cape receive a R 1.5bn solar energy boost expected to contribute significantly to the country’s rising energy demands.
Built on a 100-hectar site with more than 165,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in operation, it will supply the Eskom 132 kV gridline and generate approximately 85 458 MW per year – more than enough to supply power to approximately 19,000 average homes per year. Heralded as one of the first large solar farms in the country to be built by an independent power producer, the knock-on effect for the local community has seen as many as 500 jobs created during the peak of its construction.
“We firmly believe that solar is the way of the future,” comments Ryan Steytler, Director, The Sungrid Group. “Not only does it provide a cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional methods, but as importantly it provides a viable solution for Africa’s pressing energy problems and seemingly never-ending price hikes.”
In addition to the 8% increase in electricity tariffs by Eskom over the last two years, earlier this year saw the announcement of a further 2 – 5% increase approved for the next year. This is placing enormous pressure on already cash strapped consumers and businesses around the country.
“It is becoming increasingly clear, and urgent, that alternative solutions to our pressing energy crisis be explored,” concludes Steytler.