Solar power that operates with no battery storage, consuming the energy as it is generated, has already saved over 400 t of carbon dioxide emissions at a Harare-based facility that focuses on the remanufacture of trucks, loaders, drills and bolters.
The innovative design substantially reduced the cost outlay for the project, enabling an efficient payback period of just nine years.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology asserts that the solar power installation is driving its facility in Zimbabwe, while also promoting the company’s sustainability goals. The operation started with an 18-month Phase 1 project in 2017 and included strengthening the roof of the remanufacture facility to accommodate the weight of about 400 solar panels.
Using local contractors and expertise, the project was soon generating 50 kW of power to the facility. In Phase 2, another 50 kW of capacity was added. The installation now supplies about 75% of requirements, with plans to meet 100% of demand with another 30 kW to 50 kW of capacity.
The roll-out of solar power has not been limited to the facility’s buildings. Over the past year, it has also been extended to the homes of employees. In a pilot project, standalone domestic solar power systems were designed, tested and installed. The combined impact so far amounts to about 35 kW of renewable energy.
The company explains that it will provide loans to all staff members wishing to install solar power in their homes and estimates that its domestic solar programme could produce a total of about 300 kW of renewable energy.