By – SAnews.gov.za
Pretoria – Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has launched its second solar power plant at the Kimberley Airport, in the Northern Cape.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said the construction of the solar plant, which started on 18 September 2015, was completed within 24 weeks, on 18 April 2016.
The solar plant is in line with government’s developmental imperatives, energy security priorities and environmental conservation obligations, said the Minister.
The solar farm, which is located on 0.7 hectares of land within the airport precinct, uses an 11kV substation as it its main source of supply, which is also located on the airport’s land.
During the construction period of the Kimberley Airport Solar Plant, five permanent and 26 temporary employment opportunities were created.
“In addition, rigorous practical training and skills transfer to operate and maintain the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) plant was conducted which included cleaning modules, replacing malfunctioning electrical components and monitoring performance of PV plant, amongst other technical skills,” Minister Peters said at the launch, on Friday.
She said the Kimberley Airport Solar Plant will utilise Solar PV which means that sunlight will be directly converted into electricity using sun ray absorbing panels.
The Kimberley Airport is the second regional airport in South Africa to be powered through solar energy, with the first being the George Airport Solar Plant, which was opened on 26 February 2016.
The Kimberley Airport plant was built at a cost of about R13 million.
“ACSA has a statutory responsibility to manage, mitigate and report environmental issues at its nine airports.
“The solar energy plant lends plenty of credence to your wonderful image as a responsible contributor to the environment,” Minister Peters said.
She said the completion of the solar power plant at Kimberley Airport forms part of ACSA’s broader plan to install solar energy plants at all six regional airports over the next three to five years to make them more self-sufficient.