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City gets new 1.2MW private rooftop solar plant

City gets new 1.2MW private rooftop solar plant

The Black River Park, Observatory, recently has a 1.2MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant installed onto its rooftop.

Dubbed the Black River Park project, the project would feed excess electricity Cape Town’s electrical distribution network, and sell it back to the city for 49.72c/kWh (kilowatt hours.) This is lower than the rate at which the office park buys electricity from the municipality.

The solar PV system was able to generate just under 2 million kWh a year from about 5,500 modules. The solar plant formed part of a multi-layered approach to reducing the carbon footprint of the 74,000m² office park as it moved to become more “self-reliant and efficient.”

Chris Haw, MD of Sola Future Energy andSouth African PV Industry Association spokesperson, said in a statement, “The approval from the City of Cape Town marks a considerable breakthrough in the pursuit of electricity users who invest in independent power production to sell energy back to the distributors during periods where it is not needed on site.”

Sola was in charge of the design, construction and operation of the project, as well as the procurement of all regulatory approvals.

Joubert Rabie, Black River Park co-shareholder and developer, explained, “The office park, which hosted more than 100 companies, including the Green Building Council of South Africa, had several greening initiatives on site, including a car-pooling network, reverse osmosis plant for landscaping irrigation and on-site sorting for recycling.”

The second phase of the project, which comprised a further 500 kW of solar power, was approved after the initial 700 kW plant began operating above expectations in August 2013.

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