“In line with the South African government’s developmental imperatives, energy security and diversification of the energy matrix remains a key priority to ensure sustainability of economic activity and demonstrate consideration for the environment,” an ACSA announcement declared.
The solar farm is located on 0.7 hectares of land within the airport precinct and uses an 11kV substation as it its main source of supply, which is also located on the airport’s land. The construction of the plant at Kimberley Airport started in September 2015 and was completed within 24 weeks on 18 April 2016 at a cost of R13.5 million. Using photovoltaic 1620 PV panels and 18 inverters, solar radiation energy is converted into electricity. The plant is designed to deliver 500 KWp of peak production per year.
The plant uses an 11kV substation as it its main source of supply, which is also located on the airport’s land. To date the plant has generated 141 870 kWh and is forecasted to produced approximately 927 000 kilowatt hours per year. During the 24-week construction period five permanent and 26 temporary employment opportunities were created. In addition, rigorous practical training and skills transfer to operate and maintain the PV plant was conducted which included cleaning modules, replacing malfunctioning electrical components and monitoring performance of PV plant, amongst other technical skills.
The completion of the solar power plant at Kimberley Airport forms part of Airports Company South Africa’s broader plan to install solar farms at all its six regional. George, Kimberley and Upington Airport’s plants have already been completed and commissioned. The other three remaining regional airports are Port Elizabeth International Airport, East London Airport and Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein.