Rooftop solar
Managing Director of Solarcentury Gareth Warner says that installing solar means that USAID has a cost effective, stable source of clean energy for the next 25 years. Pic credit: IT news Africa

In South Africa, the Pretoria office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced this week that it's system has been connected to the grid since February this year.

Southern African project developer Solarcentury installed two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for USAID with a total of an estimated 1,400 panels with a generation capacity of 355kWph of clean power.

According to Solarcentury, the solar panels have been installed on the existing building as well as on specially built carports, creating the largest parking structure solar canopy in South Africa. So in addition to shading vehicles, the carports will generate clean electricity.

The clean power will help power the site, reducing reliance on grid power. It will also cut the site’s carbon footprint, enabling USAID to save an estimated 618 tonnes of carbon every year.

Cleaner, greener environment

Cheryl Anderson, mission director for USAID Southern Africa, said: “USAID is committed to constructing an environmentally and socially responsible workplace that offers staff a healthy environment without straining local resources.

“Reducing our carbon footprint and energy usage is important to the U.S. government so installing solar power at this site was an obvious decision for us. We’re proud of our solar installations because they’re part of a range of green initiatives that have helped us achieve industry recognition for our efforts,” Anderson added.

The solar systems have helped the site’s buildings achieve a 4 star South African Green Building Design certification.

Gareth Warner, managing director of Solarcentury in South Africa, commented: “The U.S. government should be applauded for its commitment to the environment. As well as helping to cut carbon emissions, installing solar means USAID has a cost-effective, stable source of clean energy for the next 25 years. Using solar electricity means they will consume less costly grid power, so they benefit from cheaper energy bills too.”


  1. Great development, however feeding 350 kWp renewable energy back into the grid is not legal and no one else in Pretoria is doing least officially. Only a few councils have announced a feed-in-tariff scheme for small scale renewables and Tshwane nor Eskom has announced a feed in tariff scheme. Currently, reversing power back in to the grid is not allowed anywhere in SA with exception of Cape Town. How did US Aid get permission to do this and they are being paid by City of Tshwane for the service?