Acsa launches R16m solar power plant at George Airport
Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) on Friday launched the first phase of its R16-million solar power plant at George Airport, in the Western Cape,
making it Africa’s first, and currently the only regional airport to be powered through solar energy.
Construction of the plant, which boasts 740 MW of installed capacity at peak production, started in March last year and was completed in October, two months ahead of schedule.
The first phase will supply 41% of the airport’s current energy demand, while the balance will be drawn from the national grid, with supply capacity steadily being increased according to demand factors.
Once complete, the 200-m2 plant will comprise 3 000 solar panels on 1.3 ha of land, with one substation. The plant’s expected life span is between 25 and 30 years.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said that South Africa was aiming to meet a target of generating 42% of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030.
Acsa group executive Andre Vermeulen said the activation of the power plant represented the first phase of the group’s plans to generate independent power for George Airport, adding that Acsa planned to generate 14 000 kWh a year of electricity from the solar plant.
Vermeulen said the second phase of the project would include similar projects at the country’s other five regional airports.
Acsa’s 2025 vision included reducing its carbon footprint in the immediate future to eventually achieving carbon neutrality.
Acsa chairperson Skhumbuzo Macozoma pointed out the company’s eventual goal was to run green airports to achieve a Green Building Council of South Africa six-star rating.