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It’s up, up and away for Africa's first solar powered airport

Energy developments are expected to be rolled out in other regional airports including Upington and PE.

Solar panel. Picture: Free Images

CAPE TOWN - Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) says in the next 18 months solar farms will be erected to power five regional airports.

Speaking at the launch of the first airport solar farm in George today, Acsa executive Andre Vermeulen says airport upgrades in Kimberley and Upington will be completed by the end of the year.

The R16 million projects kicked off in March last year and was completed two months ahead of schedule in October.

At least 3,000 solar panels were unveiled in the garden route to minimize the airport's grid dependency.

The 200 square feet power plant, adjacent to the George Airport, supplies 41 percent of the airport's daily energy demand.

Similar energy developments are expected to be rolled out in other regional airports including Kimberly, Upington and Port Elizabeth.

Vermeulen says, "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."

Officials say surplus energy generated from the airport's photo voltaic panels will be sold to Eskom.

With a shelf life of up to 30 years, they hope the plant can ultimately produce enough surplus energy to help reduce the power demand of the greater George municipality.

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