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South Africa to get its second solar-powered airport

Kimberley Airport in the Northern Cape is the second airport in South Africa to become solar powered - the first was George Airport in the Western Cape. 


Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, who officiated the opening ceremony on the 13th of May 2016, had said that this move demonstrates the department’s commitment to sustainable development. 

Located on 0.7 hectares of land within the airport precinct, the solar farm uses an 11kV substation as its main source of supply. 

The project’s construction kicked off in September 2015 at Kimberley Airport, and was completed within 24 weeks 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 deliver 500 KWp of peak production per year.

To date the plant has generated 141 870 kWh and is forecasted to produced approximately 927 000 kilowatt hours per year. Not only did the plant produce jobs during the construction phase of the project, but 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.

The other three remaining regional airports are: Port Elizabeth International Airport, East London Airport and Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein.

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 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 launched at 6 iconic SA attractions, in a bid to step off the grid.



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