Just across from EIT’s sister company in South Africa, in Waterfall City, Midrand, the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the southern hemisphere has been unveiled.

If there’s one thing that South Africa doesn’t lack, it’s sunshine. Malls and other venues that keep the lights on around the clock are moving towards renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprints. It also provides a model for the country; encouraging the citizens of South Africa to dream of and plan for a future where clean energy makes up one hundred per cent of the energy mix.

Engineers from renewable energy company Solareff have fitted the Mall of Africa’s roof with a US $3.49 million photovoltaic system that will generate the necessary energy to keep the lights on.

Source: Business Insider

It is officially the 10th most significant photovoltaic solar setup in the world, and purportedly the world’s first mixed-use integrated solar power-diesel hybrid system.

Talking to IOL, Michael Clampett, the head of retail asset management at Attacq, the company who owns the mall, said:

“This project will see the mall producing sufficient power to support its day-to-day electricity requirements while also decreasing its overall carbon footprint, another significant point in our sustainability journey.”

It is expected to generate 7800 MWh every year. Attacq also mentioned that the system would equate to 157 fewer coal trucks on the road annually. The setup covers 4.5 hectares, taking up most of the space on the Mall’s roof. And Mall of Africa is not the only mall making the transition.

Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, has confirmed that they too will be using clean energy in their mall. According to eProperty, the solar plant will consist of 2,900 grid tied; roof mounted photovoltaics made out of premium Monocrystalline silicon chipped photovoltaic cells.

The system will power the mall during the hours the sun is in the sky. South African private energy companies are looking to introduce industrial-scale battery storage that would enable storage of solar energy so clean energy can be utilized around the clock.

The South African government has just announced an Integrated Resource Plan. It suggests that the government will prioritize renewable energy projects and providers.

And this is not surprising - South Africa’s state-owned utility is struggling to keep up with electricity demand. The photovoltaic system on the Mall of Africa, therefore, is particularly important as it will ensure more electricity is available for surrounding businesses and housing.


Works Cited

“Mall of Africa Just Installed the World's 10th Biggest Solar Roof - Here's What It Looks Like.” Here Is How Far Soccer Players Run during a World Cup Match, www.businessinsider.co.za/mall-of-africa-just-installed-the-worlds-10th-biggest-solar-roof-2018-9.

News, eProperty. “LOGIN.” Solar Project Set to Deliver Clean Energy to Liberty Midlands Mall - EProperty News, www.eprop.co.za/commercial-property-news/item/21331-solar-project-set-to-deliver-clean-energy-to-liberty-midlands-mall.html.

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