Cape Town's growing green footprint

Black River Park and renewable energy

Black River Office Park is helping grow Cape Town's sustainable footprint. The commercial property is amongst the world’s top 30 largest roof integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. At 1.2 megawatts (MW) it falls behind Google Headquarters, USA (1.6MW), the Rome Trade Fair, Italy (1.4MW) and Toyota Parts Centre, Belgium (1.8MW).

With its 74 000 square meters of office space, Black River Office Park has the largest largest roof-mounted solar PV system in Southern Africa, making it a leader in sustainable energy.

Chris Haw MD of Sola Future, which provides solar infrastructure for the Black River Office park, says that perceptions of the price of solar energy are based on outdated costs.

According to Haw if an office space invests in a 500KW solar panel system:

  • It would cost approximately R8.5 million to install.
  • It is likely to generate them savings of up to R80 000 a month.
  • Considering the return of the investment over the guaranteed life of the solar panels, a business could make a significant amount of profit over that period.

It really makes good business sense to invest in these systems. Solar investment is essentially buying all your energy upfront. You reap those benefits over a long period of time.

CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies talking to PJ Rabie from Black River Investments on their solar-powered roof.

During an outdoor broadcast on 12 March 2015, Black River Park Investment’s PJ Rabie told CapeTalk’s Kieno Kammies that the solar power project simultaneously generates returns for shareholders whilst reducing their carbon footprint and allowing the office park to become more self-reliant. According to Rabie it reduces the electricity bill by 25%.

We found that going green has been incredibly important for our tenants. We've almost run out of roof space.

Brian Wilkinson CEO Green Building Council South Africa, that certified the Black River Park’s buildings according to its Green Star SA certification system, advises that the energy is not the only aspect to the green economy. Wilkinson says that resource efficiency and indoor environmental quality is equally as important.

The City's development plans

The City of Cape Town’s Director for Trade and investment Lance Greying says that they're well on their way to achieving their "aggressive target" of having 10% of the City's energy powered from renewable energy resources by 2020.

Greying told CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies that they want to encourage more development around the green economy. In light of the current conditions of load shedding and Eskom's energy crisis, Greying says that energy security is a priority so that Cape Town's productive economy can keep going.

Visit the [Black River Park](http://www.blackriverpark.co.za/ ) website.

Listen to the full conversation on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:


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