The City of Johannesburg (CoJ), the Department of Mineral Resources and cement manufacturer Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) on Thursday launched the Diepsloot skills development centre solar energy system, a R1,7-million project consisting of 75 photovoltaic panels to provide the centre with electricity.
PPC fully funded the project as part of its corporate social investment strategy and its Laezonia operation’s social and labour plan.
CoJ department of urban management director of development management Tiaan Ehlers said that Diepsloot had been marginalised in many ways and that electricity was seen as a big problem.
Regional director of CoJ Region A, Dr Thembani Masilo, added that the area had been highlighted in regional development planning and that a task team was formed nine months ago to integrate all the skills needed to build the system.
PPC Mooiplaas executive aggregates manager Riaan Redelinghuys pointed out that the electricity supplied by the solar system would assist in making future developments, such as computer-based training, possible.
CoJ deputy director for human development Carina van Zyl said that the solar energy system would allow more training projects to move into the centre, adding that a youth advisory centre would be established by mid July.
Alternative energy project development firm Unlimited Energy director Theo Covaryexplained that, after this first installation, the 55-kW system should last for ten years without any additional costs. The low maintenance facility, which uses the latest technology powered by the sun, should also remain continuously operational, even in the event of a municipal power outage, as a battery room had been built to store two-days worth of electricity.
Ehlers stated that the system is a unique solution that uses a natural resource to make a community facility usable and workable and provides 110 community members with income through its sewing and soap-making activities, which would also soon include candle-making. Engineering News