Sheds up! City of Cape Town announces plans to build solar plant by next year

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  • The City of Cape Town has announced plans to build a solar plant by next year.
  • It says it has also set aside some R15 million to pay independent energy generators to feed power into the City's grid.
  • This comes as the country faces yet another period of load shedding.

The City of Cape Town has announced plans to build a solar plant by next year, in response to escalating bouts of load shedding. 

The City said on Wednesday that it has issued a tender in relation to a seven-megawatt plant, which is to be built in Atlantis. The energy it generates will be fed directly into the City's grid.

In a statement, the City said it planned to build more of these plants in the future. It currently buys electricity from Eskom, and believes that price increases are likely.

The announcement comes as the country is hit with yet another period of heavy load shedding. Eskom has announced plans to privately procure 1 000MW of power to deal with the crisis.

ROLLING COVERAGE | Eskom and load shedding news as it happens

"This is one of a range of interventions to end load shedding over time. The power plant would start generating electricity in 2024 and be in operation for 20 years, with a foreseen annual output of 14.7GWh," a statement by the City read.

"It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the City's financial sustainability, as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom. Reducing the dependency on Eskom also means the City can develop and explore more climate-friendly power sources than Eskom's coal-fired power stations."

The City said the move to solar power would be more sustainable, and would also provide cheaper energy for residents.

The City has also has set aside R15 million to pay small-scale independent energy generators who have been feeding electricity to the grid. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis recently announced a policy which allows commercial and industrial energy generators to sell energy to the City.

"Apart from the City's own build generation, strides have also been made to enabling independent power production and small-scale embedded generation," the statement says.

"One of the goals of this programme is to achieve the City's net-zero carbon municipal buildings commitment by 2030, and this power plant would be expected to contribute towards this. There would be a significant reduction in the City's carbon footprint if it switched from Eskom to solar-generated electricity.

"Other important impacts of this development is that it holds the potential to enhance the attractiveness of Atlantis as an investment hub and it is expected to stimulate the green and broader local economy.

"This holds the potential to increase investment and thus enable job creation, boosting the local and Cape Town economy. The investment in construction of the Atlantis plant is expected to result in a R47.2-million gross domestic product increase.

"It is also expected that this development will enhance the safety of the surrounding communities, as well as stimulate the surrounding property market."

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