The solar farm at Golden Arrow
Cape Town’s largest bus company, Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS), has become a net exporter of electricity.
This achievement is the culmination of a multiyear collaborative effort between Golden Arrow, New Southern Energy and the City of Cape Town.
The bus company in 2017 started the installation of solar panels on the roof of its central engineering complex, Multimech, as part of an ongoing sustainability and carbon footprint reduction initiative.
The first phase of the project comprised only a small installation of solar panels. During the second and third phases of the project, the number of panels was increased to almost 2 500, which has already generated around 1.2-million kWh since the start of the year.
The final installation was completed during October, last year, and since then the site has consumed only 46% of the electricity generated by the system, exporting the balance to the City of Cape Town for use elsewhere.
As a net exporter of electricity, Multimech is now classified as a green facility.
The switch to renewable energy has seen the industrial site reduce its electricity account by 71% over the last three years.
A solar system of this nature has an estimated lifespan of 20 to 25 years and projections indicate financial savings of more than R80-million over its lifespan, says the 159-year-old GABS.
GABS company engineer Gideon Neethling says the project has provided the necessary impetus for future projects and innovations.
“Sustainable energy generation is a key part of Golden Arrow’s future. We believe that this is not only an ethically, but also financially sound investment, and we are excited to see how we can expand these initiatives in future.”