Big rooftop solar installation for Dube TradePort

18 November 2011


The Dube TradePort, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, will soon boast Africa’s largest roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system, SolarWorld Africa, which is supplying the 600 kWp (600 kilowatt-peak) installation, said this week. The first phase of the PV system would be installed before the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) climate negotiations get under way in the city on November 28.

The installation, the capital cost of which has not been disclosed, is intended to generate power to supply the Dube TradePort’s AgriZone grid with electricity for cold storage for the produce harvested from the facility’s 80 000m2 of greenhouses. The electricity would also power the packing lines, packing equipment, offices and storage facilities.
The complete installation will offset the carbon emissions of the Dube TradePort by 830 t of carbon dioxide every year, for the next 25 years.
With a power generation capacity expected to exceed 600 kWp, the eThekwini municipal authorities granted permission for the installation to be connected to the municipal grid.
“Our fit-out of solar panelling for the pack houses at the AgriZone is part of our overall strategy to drive sustainability of the businesses that are operating from the AgriZone. The source of power provides cost efficiencies for operations and lowers our carbon footprint in our first perishables supply chain,” Dube TradePort Corporation CEO Rohan Persad said.

 The first phase of the installation took place on the roof of the logistics and storage facility, which will feed power to the AgriZone grid before the start of the COP 17. The second phase of the installation would be installed on the roof of the warehousing facility, once the building’s construction had been completed.

German solar technology supplier SolarWorld Africa was chosen as the module supplier by South African engineering, procurement and construction company Power Solutions, to which the project was awarded.
“This ground-breaking photovoltaic installation will make a significant contribution towards meeting the energy requirements of the AgriZone’s pack houses and in doing so, enable a more sustainable and environmentally sound operation at Africa’s most advanced hydroponics facility,” Power Solutions MD and lead engineer on the project Axel Scholle said.

“We are proud to be involved in this lighthouse project, which showcases the African continent’s unlimited potential for solar power generation. It is especially important at this time when the world’s focus is centred on the COP 17 in Durban,” SolarWorld Africa MD Gregor Küpper said.