Western Cape turns to sun for its power

12 September 2013 - 03:25 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE
Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle. File photo.
Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle. File photo.

The Western Cape provincial government plans to tap into the sun to power its buildings.

The US Trade and Development Agency awarded the Green Cape Sector Development Agency, a subsidiary of the provincial Transport and Public Works Department, more than R5-million to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of a large-scale solar rooftop project. This will be used to generate energy for the provincial government's buildings in the Cape Town central business district.

US consul-general Erica Barks-Ruggles and Green Cape CEO Francois du Plessis signed the agreement yesterday. The grant will finance the review of the province's solar irradiation and electricity needs and develop a conceptual design project.

"The US embassy is pleased to partner with the Green Cape and the Western Cape provincial government in facilitating the uptake of clean energy in South Africa," said Barks-Ruggles. "Green economy initiatives like these create jobs while improving our environment."

Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said the provincial government wanted to ensure that all its buildings achieved four-star green building council rating. He said a shared services centre being built in Khayelitsha already had a five-star rating.

"The work that this grant will facilitate will ultimately go a long way towards helping us achieve [our] goal of reducing electricity consumption in all provincial buildings in the CBD and three hospitals by 15% by mid-2014," he said.