Solar leasing platform Sun Exchange and independent power producer CVE South Africa recently announced that the French renewable energy firm has funded a large solar-plus-battery project that will provide clean power and load shedding relief to one of the oldest and largest technical high schools in South Africa. By using the Sun Exchange platform to fund the entire project for High Technical School (HTS) Drostdy, valued at over ZAR 20 million ($1.16 million), CVE is unlocking sustainable energy for education in South Africa while creating an alternative income stream for its business over the 20-year lifespan of the solar project.
Solar for schools is an awesome combination that exposes students to the world of solar energy early on. They will go through their courses knowing that a significant complement of their school’s energy requirements are met by the onsite solar plant. The added bonus for this particular school is that it is a technical college, meaning students taking courses aligned to this area will also benefit from some good early exposure to solar right from the construction phase up to the monitoring and maintenance phases.
The 470.88 kW solar system plus 700 kWh battery storage project will supply more than half of the 120-year-old school’s power. Using a carport PV structure, it will provide essential backup energy, greatly reducing the impact of near-daily scheduled power cuts or “load shedding” on teaching and learning for the school’s 60 teachers and 1053 students. The project will reduce 13,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, equivalent to driving over 196 million kilometres in an average passenger vehicle.
René Laks, General Manager of CVE South Africa, emphasised the importance of education and the wellbeing of future generations in the context of climate change. “At CVE, we are committed to placing people and the planet at the centre of tomorrow’s energy solutions,” said Laks. “Sun Exchange shares our vision and values, and we are delighted to collaborate with them on this innovative and high-impact project that unlocks decentralised renewable energy for South Africa’s education sector.”
“South African schools face an uphill battle against rising electricity costs, load shedding, and the need to transition to clean energy for the sake of future generations. CVEs purchase of the entire HTS Drostdy solar project through our platform demonstrates that businesses can be a powerful driver of sustainable energy for schools, while also looking after their bottom line,” said Saul Wainwright, MD, Sun Exchange.
According to the principal of HTS Drostdy, Louis Steijn, “Our students already live in and will soon work in a highly digital world. We prepare them for this world by drawing on the latest technologies and innovations in our teaching — our robotics, 3D design and coding classes and most other classes for that matter, rely on access to an uninterrupted energy supply. This project will deliver both reliable and clean energy, while also presenting a valuable opportunity to teach students about the powerful role of technology and innovations, like Sun Exchange, in addressing the impacts of climate change.”
Sun Exchange has enabled solar power for nearly 80 businesses, farms, schools, and other organisations in Southern Africa since it started its operations in 2015. Its solar projects have generated more than 19 gigawatt-hours of clean energy, avoiding more than 19,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Individuals and businesses from 180 countries across the world use the Sun Exchange platform to buy and own solar cells, produce clean electricity, and earn with purpose.
Featured image of previous Sun Exchange project, courtesy of Sun Exchange.
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