Solar power is charging up across SA as Heineken South Africa officially launched the country’s largest freestanding solar plant powering a brewery on Wednesday, 26 October. It’s a good move for the Earth (and Heineken’s bottom line).
The 190,000 square-metre plant features 14,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels with a total generation capacity of over 6.5MW. It will account for 30% of the Sedibeng brewery’s power draw and is expected to produce 17,000MWh in a year.
It makes the beer taste brighter (probably)
One of the neat things about this particular plant, and where it differs from other similar plants, is that it features six-axis tracking tech. This allows the panels to orientate themselves to face the sun, much like a sunflower, to ensure peak efficiency.
Construction of the plant was handled by The Sola Group and took around seven months to complete. It is expected to last for at least the next 25 years.
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Dom Wills, CEO of Sola Group said of the project, “Sola is proud to be associated with Heineken and their commitment to procuring clean, low-carbon energy. Embedded generation projects right at the source of consumption help reduce the load on the electricity supply network without additional grid infrastructure upgrades.”
As more companies make use of South Africa’s optimal solar position, hopefully Eskom follows suit before too long. President Ramaphosa said as much in a July address, although that was specifically aimed at private investment in renewable energy projects.