Solar energy project to launch this month in KZN

Lincoln on Lake, Umhlanga Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal.

Leading the drive for clean energy in South Africa, three pioneers have combined forces in a groundbreaking energy-saving pilot project.

They have chosen South Africa’s sunny city Durban to harness the power of solar energy. The Lincoln on Lake Rooftop Solar Project combines the knowledge and resources of South Africa’s largest JSE listed property company Growthpoint Properties Limited, cutting-edge solar power solutions company Hudu together with one of the world’s largest solar panel (Photovoltaic) manufacturers Suntech Power, and electricity generator and distributor Eskom.

The project was conceived by a common interest and desire for clean energy, in addition to saving energy and reducing demand on the national energy grid.

Growthpoint Properties has provided the building on top of which the project is being undertaken at the prime office property Lincoln on Lake located on Umhlanga Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal. Suntech and Hudu provided the solar panels and installation and Eskom shared in the costs as part of its first joint venture for a commercial building photovoltaic installation.

The expected results are remarkable. The project is the largest photovoltaic installation to an office building in the province and represents a potential saving of 44kWs, which equates to some 87,000kWhs per annum.

It is anticipated to achieve a minimum carbon saving of 89,610kg CO2 per annum and a Certified Emissions Reductions of 89.61 tCO2 per annum. This equates to saving nearly 240 trees per year, or removing some 40 cars from our roads each year.

So impressive is the project that it will be featured at COP17/CMP7 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Durban later this year.

“Energy efficient initiatives and alternative energy sources for commercial properties are without doubt the way of the future, and we’re beginning to figure out how to implement them in the most sustainable and effective manner in South Africa,” says Essop Basha, who heads up the specialised Utilities Management division of Growthpoint Properties.

“Having a local project to showcase at the Conference will show delegates from all over the world the forward thinking approach SA business takes to energy-saving through the use of clean energy sources,” notes Basha.

Hudu’s participation in the project was driven by its objective to provide products that are both sustainable and in harmony with the environment. The ideal partner for this project, Hudu prizes innovation above all and specialises in the supply, design, installation and maintenance of custom-built, hybrid on- and off-grid solar power plants for domestic, commercial and industrial applications.

“The latest innovations in the solar energy sector provide increased applications and effectiveness, as well as financial viability,” explains Martin Viljoen, Managing Director of Hudu. “We are excited to be part of this resourceful project and to be a participant in the solar energy revolution that that is taking hold in SA.”

“Renewable energy is the way of the future. Eskom is committed to developing large scale renewable energy projects as well as support our customers in the development of smaller scale projects as with Lincoln on the Lake. The investment is part of the 49m Campaign which encourages the responsible use of electricity by all South Africans” says Dr. Steve Lennon, Eskom Divisional Executive overseeing Eskom’s preparations for COP-17.

The Lincoln on Lake Rooftop Solar Project launched on 15 October 2011 and monitoring of the building’s energy savings will be ongoing.

“The ultimate objective of the pilot project is to evaluate the technology and the potential opportunity it represents for application in buildings in South Africa. The project will benefit not only the pilot study partners, but the whole country,” says Basha.

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