Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Enterprise

Amazon's first SA solar project adds clean energy to the grid

CAPE TOWN – Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that the first operational solar project it has enabled in South Africa has begun contributing renewable energy to the electricity grid.

Located in the Northern Cape, South Africa's largest province, the 10 megawatt (MW) solar project will supply renewable energy to AWS data centers and contribute to South Africa’s 2030 renewable energy goals.

The solar project is expected to generate up to 28,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of over 8,000 average South African homes. The project is a single axis tracking plant consisting of over 24,000 bifacial solar modules covering an area of 20 hectares in the Northern Cape, where solar is a valuable energy resource.

The solar photovoltaic panels track the sun throughout the day absorbing irradiance from the sky and reflected light from the ground. The project design will result in more than an estimated 25,000 tons of carbon emissions avoided annually, the equivalent of removing 5,400 cars from the road for a year.

"Amazon is committed to working with governments and utility suppliers around the world to help bring more new renewable energy projects online, and we're honored to be able to work with the Department of Minerals and Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), and Eskom to help deliver a new model for renewable energy generation in South Africa," said Nat Sahlstrom, director of AWS Energy.

"This project brings Amazon closer to achieving net-zero carbon by 2040 and powering our operations with 100% renewable energy, a commitment we’re on path to achieve five years early by 2025," Sahlstrom said.

The solar project is majority-owned by black women and operated by a fully South African-owned company, according to the project developer SOLA.

"Historically, black women have been critically under-represented in infrastructure, agriculture, and utility ownership," said Meta Mhlarhi, co-founder and executive director at Mahlako Financial Services, an investor in the project.

"Energy projects that enable black investment are our surest way to a just transition to renewable energy," Mhlarhi added.

During construction, the project created 167 jobs, 63% from the local surrounding area. It will sustain permanent jobs for its lifetime in electrical maintenance, operation, and security. Unused materials from construction, including pallets and electrical cable drums, were donated to local furniture businesses and special skills schools to support small, medium, and micro enterprises.

"It’s important that while we’re building renewable energy capacity in South Africa that we’re also developing South African companies and skills," says Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Group, the South African company responsible for developing and operating the energy plant.

"SOLA is committed to transforming South Africa through clean energy, and this project marks a step change in scale."

AWS is committed to building a sustainable business for customers and the planet. In 2019, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net zero carbon across all global operations by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Amazon is on a path to powering operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 – five years ahead of its original target of 2030. In 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, reaching 65% renewable energy across its business, with a portfolio including 234 global renewable energy projects totaling over 10 GW of renewable capacity globally.

Amazon Web Services

Innovation hub

Story

Visa shortlists fintech startups for accelerator program

Payments giant Visa has announced the 18 startups from sub-Saharan Africa that were shortlisted for the second cohort of its Africa Fintech Accelerator program.

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

Story

Omdia View: March 2024

By Omdia Analysts

The failure of four out of the five submarine cables deployed on the western shore of Africa in March 2024 led to a massive Internet outage across several countries. The outage fueled demand for satellite broadband, with SpaceX's Starlink becoming increasingly popular. That and more 5G and streaming news in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002