George Airport in the Western Cape is now the first solar powered airport on the African continent after a 200 square metre solar plant was opened on Friday.

The opening of the plant forms part of South Africa’s Independent Power Producers Programme which is set to contribute some 3 725MW to the South African electric grid.

Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters opened the solar plant saying that the opening of facility, “admirably demonstrates the South African government’s commitment to clean energy generation and sustainability, as well as to our country’s increasingly prominent role when it comes to global climate change issues.”

Owing to the fact that the George Airport is now powered by solar energy, the project is also expected to save 1.2 million litres of water. We should point out that just because solar plants don’t use as much water as coal or nuclear facilities, they do still need water to clean the photo voltaic cells.

During the opening, Peters also acknowledged the Morocco Concentrated Solar Power Plant which went live on 9th February and is expected to provide electricity to 1.1 million people and reduce carbon emissions by as much as 760 000 tons.

A report on IOL goes on to state that Peters also mentioned The Great Inga Dam Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once complete, the project is expected to become the largest Hydro power plant on the African continent and supply power to a third of the African population.

With the opening of this airport the hope is that many other South African regional airports will follow suit including; Bram Fischer International Airport (Bloemfontein), Kimberly Airport, Upington Airport, Port Elizabeth Airport and East London Airport.

In closing Peters said, “Clearly, Africa as a continent, has so much to offer in the renewable energy space and as the best natural resource endowed continent on the planet, we cannot afford to allow the clean energy revolution to transpire in our absence.”

[Via – IOL] [Image – CC BY/2.0 Intel Free Press]