Atlantis Foundries – part of major vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck AG – has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Energy Partners (EP) as part of a major new solar project in the Western Cape.
According to the terms of the agreement, EP will engineer, finance, construct and operate the ground-mounted solar energy system at AF’s production plant, comprising more than 20,000 solar panels and boasting a total rated capacity of 13.5MWp.
“It will be the Western Cape’s largest embedded generation solar project,” the group said, adding that it is also likely the highest CO2 emissions-saving project in the South African auto industry.
Chief executive officer of EP, Manie de Waal, said that the PPA will commence on May 1, 2024 and will provide AF with a reliable electricity source at a substantially reduced cost over the next 20 years.
“Opting for renewable energy is a significant step, and the system that we designed for AF is expected to save more than 22,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually – likely the highest reduction achieved in the South African automobile industry.
“In financial terms, the system will generate electricity worth more than R35 million per year at current average Eskom tariffs,” he said
The system has been specifically engineered to align with the foundry’s electrical consumption profile and is estimated to replace up to 20% of the group’s annual electricity consumption – considerably reducing its carbon footprint and representing a major step towards sustainable energy utilisation.
The solar plant will be integrated into AF’s electrical network that is connected to the City of Cape Town’s grid, and excess energy generated by the plant will be fed into the City’s network through the feed-in programme, contributing to the overall renewable energy capacity of Cape Town.
AF said that the project sets the stage for future embedded generation systems exceeding 1MW within Cape Town and the rest of the province.