V&A’s rooftop solar system operational

Published: 01 December 2015

Sustainable Power Solutions with partners SolarWorld Africa, SMA Solar Technology South Africa and Schletter South Africa, has installed a 7500m² rooftop solar electricity system at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Yesterday marked the official switch on by provincial minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde.

The system will effectively power several key buildings on the iconic property with an estimated total output of 1,640,000kWh of clean energy per year. At present, 900kW have been successfully connected to the grid on six roofs.

The minister said the project underscored the focus on the Western Cape’s green economy and renewable energy sector, as well as the competitive advantages the Province holds for potential investors.

“In the Western Cape, we have set ourselves the goal of becoming the greenest region in South Africa. Securing reliable, affordable energy is a key focus area for the Western Cape Government. In fact, it is one of our game-changers and is being driven by a special unit in the premier’s office. At municipal level, we’re looking at including solar PV as part of the energy mix,” he said.

The V&A Waterfront solar system consists of 4207 SolarWorld SunModule Plus SW260 Poly PV modules and FLX and Sunny Tripower inverters from SMA Solar Technology with a total output of solar electricity of 1093.8kWp and will reduce 1610 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. The average daily production of this system will be 4495kWh, which is the energy needed to supply one day’s worth of electricity to 310 average-sized households.

The three-month installation process was concluded earlier this month by Sustainable Power Solutions and its partners SolarWorld Africa, SMA Solar Technology South Africa and Schletter South Africa.

No delays and within budget

Axel Scholle, MD of Sustainable Power Solutions, the engineering, design, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, said the project was completed with no delays and within budget. “A key to our success was the speed of installation. Within three months we had 900kW installed on several roofs in spite of the challenges associated with a busy tourist attraction such as the V&A Waterfront. The solar system contributes a significant amount of solar electricity to the V&A Waterfront’s own power usage depending on which building the solar panels are located. The typical contribution from the various solar plants to each of the building’s electricity consumption ranges between 7% and 24%,” he said.

MEC Winde told industry members and media that he was encouraged by partners in the private sector who have committed themselves to walking this road with the Western Cape Government.

“I want to commend the V&A Waterfront, Sustainable Power Solutions and SolarWorld Africa for this initiative, which is one of the largest scale in the country. We now have one of South Africa’s biggest landmarks, an icon which has contributed over R200 million to the national economy, as an ambassador for smart energy practices. You have helped us set the benchmark and it’s one I hope others in the private sector will follow. While we know that operating this way is the right thing to do, we realise that more businesses are also choosing green energy because it makes business sense.”

SolarWorld solar panels and SMA inverters have been installed on the roofs of the Watershed, the Breakwater Apartment, the Clock Tower, Granger Bay, Two Oceans Aquarium and Ports Edge.