Solar panels on the roof of the parking lot with the George Municipality main building and civic centre, which is now solar powered, in the background. Photo by MDL Electrical

George Municipality’s main building will now mostly be powered by solar following the activation of the recently installed 300kW solar-power plant in the municipal parking lot.

Funded by the national Department of Energy and facilitated by the municipality’s Electrotechnical directorate, the solar plant consists of 692 photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on top of the roofs of the parking bays – not only generating enough power to electrify the main building and civic centre but also providing shade and protection for municipal vehicles.

The energy generated feeds directly into the municipal buildings’ main low voltage distribution boards. Any excess power not used by the main buildings and civic, is exported to the grid and feeds into neighbouring municipal buildings, such as the housing offices, and the park in front of the civic centre in York Street.

Solar power that the municipality does not use goes back into the city’s grid, which is then ‘credited’ against the municipality’s Eskom account according to a special tariff. During the night and on cloudy days, the municipality uses the accumulated ‘credit’ and pays for electricity thereafter. It is expected to produce 500 000kWh of energy per year and should pay itself off within seven years.

George Municipality also earns ‘green points’ for meeting carbon emission reduction targets.

The total savings in carbon dioxide emissions generated from the new solar-plant will be about 9027 tonnes of CO2 over the plant’s 25-year lifetime.

George Municipal Manager Dr Michele Gratz said the municipality was proud to be among the first local authorities in the Western Cape to generate electricity for its own buildings. “This kind of project ultimately benefits the people of George because it saves money, promotes innovation and good environmental practices.

“We thank national government for supporting us in the pursuit of energy saving across as many platforms as possible. The municipality continues to investigate various types of alternative energy sources to provide sustainable solutions for the city,” said Dr Gratz.

 

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20 years ago Herman and his wife Carina, with their 2 daughters moved to George in the beautiful Garden Route region of South Africa. He has a passion for the people of the region and is involved in many humanitarian projects. He is co-owner of the popular Facebook group called Georgiete Staan Saam with a membership of 71 000. He is a connector and an activist for unity and works tirelessly to help all communities in George and the Garden Route to realise that the answer for the political, business and socio-economical problems of the area is to stand together, plan together and working together at a common sustainable goal of alleviating poverty. Herman is the CEO of the Love Garden Route NPC and is one of the founders of the Love George movement. He is the owner and founder of the LoveGeorge News platform and the online radio stations RadioCSA. For 30 years Herman specializes in web development and web design and through his business also offer web-hosting, email-hosting and domain-hosting. As a Pastor he has presented over 40 men's and women's camps where the main focus is to assist and guide Christians in discovering their true calling and then activate them into their true Prophetic and Apostolic calling.