Cape Town – The development of the Atlantis community has been welcomed after the City revealed its plan to build its first grid-connected solar plant next year in Atlantis as one of its interventions to end load shedding over time.
The plant will be connected directly into the City’s electrical network and start generating electricity in 2024, while creating jobs and making the area more attractive as an investment hub for the green economy.
The City issued the tender for the engineering, procurement and construction of its planned 7MW Atlantis solar photovoltaic (PV) and said the closing time for receipt of tenders is October 25.
Mayco Member for Energy, Beverley van Reenen, said they needed to ensure a fair and transparent procurement process, thus with the tender for the contractor currently out for market response, they could not yet disclose the budget for the project.
“The project holds the potential to increase investment and thus enable job creation, boosting the local and Cape Town economy. The number of jobs to be created is still to be determined. This will be done once the contractor has been appointed. However, calculations indicate total employment increase by 123 person-years or full-time equivalent jobs,” Van Reenen said.
Van Reenen explained that the site was located in the buffer zone between the residential and industrial areas in Wesfleur, Atlantis.
The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (Asez) encouraged the development as it provided opportunities for local SMME contributions to the construction of the project.
Asez business development executive Jarrod Lyons said: “This is an extremely exciting project which will benefit not only the immediate community of Atlantis but also the local shift to renewable energy.
“It is a monumental step in the right direction in tackling South Africa’s energy crisis.”
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said: “It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the City’s financial sustainability as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom.”
South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) spokesperson Frank Spencer said the country is in a time of electricity crisis, and solar PV adoption at all scales is, perhaps, the solution that could be rolled out the fastest and most cost-effectively to help alleviate the problem of load-shedding.
“Solar PV technology has reached a price-point that, irrespective of where or how such a plant is built in South Africa, the cost of the electricity generated is typically well below the cost of buying electricity from Eskom,” Spencer said.