With growing pressure on the country’s electricity grid, The Constantia Village has taken it upon themselves to make a difference and to contribute to the Western Cape’s goal of becoming the greenest region in South Africa. Over the past couple of months, one of the country’s largest rooftop solar plants has been installed at the centre. Approval by the CRRA was required in terms of a Servitude Agreement dating back to when the centre was first approved. After a lot of debate, resulting in some re-design and conditions being imposed, this was granted.
The first phase of the solar installation was completed in early December 2015 and will see the centre’s energy consumption reduced by almost 20%. So far, 5 010 m² of the main shopping centre’s roof has been covered with solar panels, and another 1500 m2 is currently being planned which is aimed to be added during the first half of 2016. The second phase includes panels on the walkway roof which will be visible from the parking area – given that this may be visually undesirable to some people, Growthpoint are looking at alternative non-visible areas for panels. The second phase panels are required to make the whole installation economically viable.
Some interesting statistics are as follows:

  • Number of panels installed: 2628
  • Area covered: 5010 m2
  • Max generation capacity: 815kw
  • Environmental saving: 1224 tonnes CO2 per year – 9774 trees have to be planted for the same amount of CO2
  • Energy consumption reduction: 20%

It should be noted that this installation is not a solution for load shedding but rather to provide a sustainable alternative energy. When there is a power outage, the emergency circuit is powered by back-up diesel generators – however the limited input from the solar system does reduce the usage of diesel.