The construction of a 500 kWp single-roof photovoltaic solar array on telecommunications group Vodacom’s Century City, Cape Town, building, was well under way, engineering and management consultancy WSP Group reported.
The project, which was expected to be complete in August, comprised the installation of about 2 000 mono crystalline solar panels onto SolarWorld Sundeck and 100% recycled Suntabs roof sheeting over a 3 600 m² area, WSP explained.
The removed roof tiles would be recycled and used in community projects.
The solar array was expected to produce about 75% of the 650 kWp power requirements of the building during peak production.
The solar roof would yield an expected energy saving of about 830.1 MWh a year – the amount of power it would take to charge over 70-million cellphones a year.
The project, which was said to be the largest array of solar panels on a single building in Africa, formed part of Vodacom’s aim of reducing its energy consumption, added Vodacom executive head of corporate citizenship Suraya Hamdulay.
"Our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by March 2013, which will translate into an estimated 79 000 t saving," she said.
Earlier this year, Vodacom completed the construction of its first six-star-rated green building, the Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Center, in Midrand. The company also established a solar-powered base station, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, which supplied the Emfihlweni community with excess power and mobile hybrid base station towers that use a combination of solar, wind and fuel cell technology and free cooling.
Further, Vodacom has reduced the energy inputs by 12% a base station across the group.