A Cape Town-based business park is generating 2 million kWh per year from its solar project and is selling some of this power to the local grid.
Not only is the 1.2MW Black River Park (BRP) Solar Project the largest integrated photovoltaic plant in Africa, it is also the first to legally transmit electricity back into the City of Cape Towns electrical distribution grid. [Engerati-Black River Park Commercial Roof Top Solar Project.]
Sustainability is the key
Hosting the solar panels is a 74 000 metre squared office park in Observatory where over 100 companies are located. This commercial real estate is leading the way in sustainable commercial real estate. The solar system forms part of the office parks strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and become self-reliant and energy efficient. This strategy follows Cape Towns aim for sustainability and energy efficiency. [City of Cape Town-The drive to be more energy efficient.] and [Engerati-Small scale renewable electricity generation in the City of Cape Town.]
Black River Park is aiming to become the first-choice office park for tenants who are striving to operate businesses that are environmentally aware. The solar installation contributes very significantly towards the many other greening initiatives we have on site, to identify but a few, a car-pooling network, reverse osmosis plant for landscaping irrigation, and on-site sorting for recycling, says Joubert Rabie, developer and co-shareholder in Black River Park.
The total project size of 1.2MW makes it one of the worlds largest roof mounted solar PV systems, and the largest in Africa, able to generate just under 2 million kWh per year from about 5 500 modules. The project has a guaranteed lifetime of 20 years and has minimal operational costs.
The systems over performance is mainly due to higher than expected peak demand savings added to the energy savings. The peak demand for air-conditioning, especially in summer, coincides with hot, clear days when the PV system is operating at capacity.
Apart from the savings generated, the solar system also attracts tenants to the office park that are placing increasing importance on being able to report sustainable business practices to their shareholders.
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