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Heineken South Africa Launches 6.5 MW Solar Plant for Its Brewery in Gauteng

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The South African subsidiary of Dutch brewing company Heineken N.V. has taken a bold step towards reducing carbon emissions in its operations. The company has inaugurated a 6.5 MWp solar plant for its brewery located in Midvaal in the Gauteng province.

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Unlike many photovoltaic plants in the country constructed on rooftops or in a desert area, the Midvaal brewery’s solar plant is built in a lush field covered with wild grasses. The plant consists of 14,000 solar panels and incorporates single-axis tracking technology that enables maximum utilization of the sun’s energy by the panels.

The solar plant was built in partnership with the SOLA Group, a Cape Town-based renewable energy company. The new installation is set up on a 19-hectare (47 acres) of land and is the largest free-standing solar PV plant powering a brewery in South Africa.

The embedded grid-connected plant is wifi-enabled and controlled. It is connected with a supervisory control and data acquisition control system, enabling real-time monitoring and control.

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The solar plant will decarbonize the industrial processes of the brewery with an estimated production of 17,000 MWh of clean electricity per year. This will provide 30% of the electricity demand of the brewery.

According to Richard Kreil, Heineken’s Engineering, Strategic Projects & Sustainability Manager, the construction of the plant is the latest move of the company on its journey toward more sustainable brewing. The solar plant is developed under Heineken’s ‘Brew a Better World’ initiative and will contribute to the company’s effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. 

The SOLA Group will operate the plant for 25 years, under an agreement signed with the brewing company. The brewery which is co-operated by Heineken and Namibian Breweries (NBL) has also built a wastewater management plant.

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