The Blue Oval goes green - Ford South Africa to become 'energy self-sufficient by 2024'

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• Ford SA launches Project Blue Oval renewable energy programme with 13.5MW solar installation, valued at R135-million.

• The solar installation comprises over 31 000 solar panels and covers 4200 parking bays.

• Forms part of Ford's vision to have the Silverton Assembly Plant entirely green and energy self-sufficient by 2024.

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Ford South Africa began work on a solar energy project for its Silverton Assembly plant in Pretoria. The project aims to have the plant entirely 'green' and energy self-sufficient by 2024. Once complete, Ford SA will be one of the first global plants for the Blue Oval in the world to achieve this.

Andrea Cavallaro, director operations, Ford International Markets Group, says: "Ford Motor Company has launched clear objectives to address climate change, which compel us to change our behaviour in profound and lasting ways. As stated in our 2020 Sustainability Report, Ford Global is committed to doing its part to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and we are working towards stronger vehicle greenhouse standards to reduce our impact on the environment."

Ford is also addressing the dependence on water resources in several global markets, including South Africa; a water-scarce country.

Ford SA to become self-sustainable by 2024 (QuickPic)

Energy and environmental challenges

The new project, says Ford SA, will create 100 jobs locally, starting with the manufacturing of the solar carports by SolarAfrica. During the next phases, which are currently being investigated, the introduction of biomass as a source of renewable energy, and the outsourced farming of fermentable biomass plants in rural areas that would support this project, will be instrumental in driving this vision forward - creating employment for a further 2400 people.

Ockert Berry, VP operations at Ford SA, adds: "This is a bold and pioneering step that will transform our business, helping us make an important contribution to reduce our impact on the environment. It will also make our Silverton Assembly Plant both more efficient and more cost-competitive."

The company has kickstarted 'Project Blue Oval' through a partnership with SolarAfrica to provide a 13.5MW solar installation for the facility, valued at R135-million, which will deliver approximately 30% of the Silverton plant’s annual power requirements. This involves installing specially developed and locally manufactured solar photovoltaic (PV) carports throughout the facility, using more than 31 000 solar panels. Covering parking bays for around 4200 vehicles, it will be one of the largest solar carports in the world.

Compiled by: Charlen Raymond
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