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Tech giant Amazon has recently launched a solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. This 10 MW solar power plant added Amazon’s portfolio of over 270 renewable energy projects across the world.
The solar PV plant covers 20 hectares of land and consists of 24,000 bifacial solar panels, which gives the ability to capture solar energy on both sides. The clean energy plant is expected to generate up to 28,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of over 8,000 South African homes.
According to Nat Sahlstrom, Director of energy at Amazon Web Services, the recent installation is part of Amazon’s objective to facilitate utility suppliers to develop more renewable projects. Sahlstrom acclaimed the efforts of the Department of Minerals and Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), and Eskom to help deliver a new model for renewable energy generation in the country.
The solar project will contribute to South Africa’s just energy transition and a pursuit of the country’s renewable energy goals of 2030, adhering to its economic transformation. The project created 167 jobs during its construction from local communities and further will sustain permanent jobs for its electrical maintenance, operation, and security.
The special purpose company for this solar project is fully South Africa-owned and majority-owned by black women. Thus contributed directly to the social development of South Africa.
Meta Mhlarhi, Co-founder and Executive Director at Mahlako a Phahla Investments, an investor in the project, commented, “Historically, black women have been critically under-represented in infrastructure, agriculture, and utility ownership. Energy projects that enable black investment are our surest way to a just transition to renewable energy.”
The solar power plant project also donated its unused construction materials to local businesses and special skills schools to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), reducing waste in the process.
Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Group, the South African company which is responsible for the development and operation of the solar power plant said that we must develop companies and skills in the country, while we’re building its renewable energy capacity.