Ford South Africa and SolarAfrica have initiated the first phase of the automotive company’s Project Blue Oval renewable energy programme. The project now harnesses the power of the sun for 35% of the Silverton Assembly plant’s energy needs.
The Silverton Assembly plant in Pretoria, which produces the Ranger bakkie domestically and for 100 other countries, is now home to one of the world’s largest solar carports, claims Ford SA.
All your sun are belong to Ford
SolarAfrica’s installation certainly seems large enough for that to be plausible. The large-scale system is made up of 30,226 solar panels, 120 three-phase 100kW inverters, and eight transformers (not that kind) to produce some 13.5MW of power. That’s enough juice to power about 12,000 average households for a whole year. Or 35% of the plant, to give you an idea of the scale of Ford’s facility.
The project took 599 days and 35,000 man-hours to complete. 5km of cabling, 59 tons of steel, and 315 tons of aluminium were used during construction. Those are some impressive numbers, but they could’ve stalled for a day to make that a nice round 600.
In terms of environmental impact, the solar carport will reduce Ford SA’s CO2 generation by 20 072 tons per year. That’s a big green step toward achieving Ford’s carbon-free emissions targets by 2035.
“This project proudly puts the Silverton Assembly Plant on the map as part of Ford’s commitment to sustainability as we migrate our energy supply from fossil fuels to environmentally friendly, renewable resources,” says Ockert Berry, VP of Operations for Ford SA.