PHOTOS | How Mercedes-Benz South Africa aims to avoid being powerless during load shedding

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  • To secure the future of its factory, Mercedes-Benz SA is going solar.
  • Photovoltaic technology will be rolled out at Eastern Cape car plant.
  • Mercedes-Benz aims to become all-electric by the end of the decade.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Tired of sitting in the dark, powerless, unable to work, live or play because of nearly 12 hours of load shedding? Companies feel the same, and some of them are doing something about it to secure their futures. Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is one of these companies and it's moving closer towards its vision of carbon-neutral manufacturing production after the successful launch of its Photovoltaic (PV) technology project pilot.

These Photovoltaic (PV) technology and devices (solar panels) convert sunlight into electrical energy and contributes to carbon reduction in the manufacturing process for cars and trucks. Mercedes-Benz Group AG, the parent company of MBSA is continuously working on the development of its sustainable business strategy and has set the goal of carbon dioxide reduction by 2039 with Ambition2039.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project
Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project

Aim is to become carbon neutral

Mercedes-Benz intends to go all-electric until the end of this decade and aims to cut its carbon footprint per passenger car by more than half by 2030 compared with 2020 levels. To achieve this goal, the key levers include: electrifying the vehicle fleet, charging with green energy, improving battery technology, an extensive use of recycled materials and renewable energy in production.

Mercedes-Benz plans to cover more than 70% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2030 by rolling out solar and wind power at own sites as well as through further Power Purchase Agreements.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project
Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project

In line with this ambition, MBSA piloted this PV project with the objective of evaluating the solar yield for the East London manufacturing plant. The pilot provided MBSA with first-hand experience with the technology in East London manufacturing plant. The 360 kilowatt peak (kWp) solar panels were installed on the roof of its recently commissioned body shop building. Since the start of the pilot in January 2022, the pilot has thus far produced impressive solar yields.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project
Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project

Commenting on the successful launch of the PV pilot project, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-South Africa and Executive Director of Manufacturing, Andreas Brand said: “As Mercedes-Benz our goal is to make the world’s most desirable cars. The launch of the PV pilot project attests to our commitment to climate protection and the sustainable manufacturing of our products. We are proud of our successful pilot project here in East London and look forward to actively making a significant contribution to Sustainable Production/Co2 neutral manufacturing.”

The next phase of the project will complete the plant baseload requirement, with future projects on newly commissioned buildings.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project
Mercedes-Benz South Africa solar power project

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