acsa unveils africa's first solar powered airport

With world economies experiencing cycles of economic alterations influenced by oil depletion, hike in oil prices, and other effects shaped by our rapid consumption of petroleum products, more countries are looking to the sun. Most countries today harness the power of the sun to light their streets, vehicles, there are even solar-powered trash cans, motorbikes, buses, traffic light, and so on.

One of Africa’s biggest economies, South Africa has now joined the solar bandwagon by launching a solar-powered airport. This airport will be fully run on solar power. The project which is believed to have been pioneered by the Department of Transport of the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and the minister of transport, Dipuo Peters began in March 2015 and was completed in October.

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The plant will be the first in Africa, with the first solar-powered airport in the world being launched in Kochi, Southern India in 2015. SA’s airport solar plant which is located opposite the airport is 200 square meters and cost about 16 million Rands to build. It also consists of at least 3,000 photovoltaic panels meant for providing the airport with 750 Kilo Watts of renewable energy. The plant will be independent of the electricity grid and ESKOM by storing up enough solar energy to be used at night and less sunny days.

The airport was launched in the city of George, Cape Town on Friday by Minister Dipuo Peters. At the launch, she addressed South Africa’s commitment to clean energy, stating that the plant, “admirably demonstrates the South African government’s commitment to clean energy generation and sustainability, as well as to our country’s increasingly prominent role when it comes to global climate change issues.”

Similar upgrades in other airports are expected to be carried out. The ACSA executive Andre Vermeulen said, “We have to have, in the next year and a half, all the plants completed. In Port Elizabeth, we want to collaborate with the university to see if we can set up some kind test facility to test some of the different types of alternative energy sources and get engineering students to partake in that.”

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