Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 November 2011 – Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has opened a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation at the Lethabo power station of South African national power utility Eskom Holdings at Vereeniging, near Johannesburg.
The first stage of the pilot project was designed to introduce renewable energy sources to supply power for internal use at Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, Eskom said in a statement.
This would reduce the company’s carbon footprint by about 2 845 tonnes per annum. Solar PV technologies use the power of the sun to generate electricity.
Eskom said it had a long-term strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and its immediate priority was to reduce emissions at its existing fleet of power stations.The solar PV project forms a significant part of that strategy and the lessons learned at the pilot plants will support the rollout of these systems across all Eskom’s coal-fired stations over time.
The pilot plants, each 10 000 sq m in size, are located on greenfield sites adjacent to the coal-fired power stations at Lethabo, Kendal in Mpumalanga, and at Eskom’s head office at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg.
The electricity generated from the solar PV plants will provide power during daylight hours for the administration buildings, security and terrace lighting and unit lighting board, reducing auxiliary power consumption.
The total electricity generated from these solar PV plants is 1.55 megawatts (MW), which could power about 1 900 standard suburban houses with an assumed consumption of 200 kilowatts per month.
“This installation demonstrates that we are delivering on our commitment to move towards a lower carbon future over time,” Eskom CEO Brian Dames said. "We have undertaken to invest in renewable energy projects and in cleaner coal technologies, and these solar panels are an important first step towards that.”