The V&A Waterfront is on of the three top consumers of water and electricity in Cape Town. Pic credit Willem Law
Project to develop more than 7,000m2 of solar rooftop panels for eight buildings throughout the Waterfront precinct. Pic credit: Willem Law

In Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront, one of the City’s three top consumers of water and electricity, has embarked on a ZAR20 million rooftop solar power initiative that will significantly reduce its dependence on the electrical grid, reported the Cape Argus today.

More than 7,000m2 of solar panels will be installed on the roofs of eight buildings throughout the Waterfront precinct.

Phase one of the solar rooftop project is expected to be ready by the end of December and work is already under way on the investigation of phase two, which will include the roof of the Victoria Wharf shopping centre.

The project will conserve an estimated 1,721 956kWh annually – equivalent to the power used to keep the lights on in 574 four-person households.

Environmental performance

V&A Waterfront chief executive David Green announced the solar rooftop energy initiative at Wednesday’s presentation of two sustainability awards.

Heritage South Africa was awarded the precinct Platinum status for its environmental performance and community involvement. It is one of only four sites or establishments in South Africa’s Western Cape province to receive this certification.

The Green Building Council of South Africa also presented Green with a four-star “existing building” ratings for the Victoria Wharf shopping centre and the BP Building, which is now also home to the Waterfront’s head office.

Green said: “Our vision is to be the best waterfront in the world and integral to that is our approach to sustainability.”

Impact on resources

According to the Cape Argus, with the Waterfront’s rapid rate of development, its demands for resources such as water and electricity were also increasing.

Green explained: “Our target is to consume less each year, despite this growth.”

The solar rooftop panels, which will be installed on the roofs of the Watershed, the Breakwater, the Clock Tower, Granger Bay, the Two Oceans Aquarium, Ports Edge, West Quay and Portswood House in the first phase, will alleviate some of the Waterfront’s electricity consumption.

“This translates into a tangible benefit for residents of Cape Town as there will be more power available for them, and it makes good business sense for us too,” said Green.

Sustainable development

Colin Devenish, executive manager of operations at the Waterfront, said the sustainability projects paid for themselves within four years.

The solar rooftop panel project was not deemed financially viable when first mooted six years ago, stated the Cape Argus.

However, Devenish said load shedding and rising electricity costs meant that sustainable energy options were now needed.