Retail company Massmart recently installed a 572 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant on the roof of its soon-to-be-launched Makro Carnival store, in Brakpan, Gauteng.
The store, which would officially be launched on April 20, would also be the first Makro store to make use of renewable energy to meet its energy requirements and 2 160 solar PV panels were installed on its roof.
“Implementing solar PV at our Makro Carnival store underlines our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint. We have been greening our stores since 2010 to save energy, reduce running costs and improve the in-store environment and customer shopping experience,” said Makro South Africa store developer Alan Walker.
He added that all new Makro stores would be sustainably developed and that older stores were in the process of being retrofitted with a variety of energy management technologies and systems.
“The PV panels are expected to produce one-million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year and will account for between 60% and 80% of the building’s electricity needs during the day, and 30% of the store’s yearly electricity requirement,” said Massmart sustainability manager Alex Haw.
He added that, in addition to the PV panels, the building had a daylight harvesting system that reduced the store’s electrical lighting requirements.
“We have also installed light-emitting diode lights throughout the store, as well as motion sensors in the offices and storage rooms that automatically switch lights on and off,” he said.
Haw explained that the store had invested in an energy-efficient refrigeration solution with automated night blinds, high-speed doors and better insulation to reduce heat loss.
The refrigeration plant used carbon dioxide, which had zero ozone depleting elements and a global warming potential rating of one.
“The refrigeration plant is 20% to 30% more efficient than typical refrigeration plants on the market and allows us to harvest condensate from the refrigeration chillers, which we reuse in the refrigeration process when ambient temperatures outside the store exceed 27 °C,” he noted.
He added that the store also made use of rainwater harvesting for flushing and domestic water use purposes.
Walker pointed out that the building had an emergency water supply, which would be used in the case of water shortages and when water pressure was not sufficient.
The new store had a staff complement of 387, with local community residents accounting for 80% of the employees.
“We are member of the Green building Council South Africa and want to proceed with applying for a Green Star rating for Makro Carnival,” he stated.