Cape Town’s largest bus company Golden Arrow Bus Services has installed solar panels at its central engineering complex, Multimech, as part of its ongoing sustainability and carbon footprint reduction initiatives.
The switch to renewable energy has been so successful that this large industrial site has reduced its electricity account by 71% over the last three years. This remarkable achievement is the culmination of a multi-year collaboration between Golden Arrow, New Southern Energy, and the City of Cape Town.
The first phase of the project, which began in 2017, comprised a small installation of solar panels on Multimech’s roof. During the second and third phases of the project, the number of panels was increased to almost 2 500 with the capacity to generate approximately 1 200 kilowatt-hours per year.
The final installation was completed during October 2019 and since then the site has consumed only 46% of the electricity generated by the system and exported the balance to the City of Cape Town for use elsewhere. As a net exporter of electricity, Multimech is now classified as a green facility.
A solar system of this nature has an estimated lifespan of 20-25 years and projections indicate financial savings exceeding R 80 million over its lifespan. The switch to an environmentally kinder solution was a natural step for Golden Arrow as the 159-year-old Company moves forward as a champion of sustainable energy use.
According to Gideon Neethling, Golden Arrow Company Engineer, this project has provided an impetus for future projects and innovations. “Sustainable energy generation is a key part of Golden Arrow’s future; we believe that this is not only an ethically but also financially sound investment and we are excited to see how we can expand these initiatives in the future,” he says.
Such projects include the recently completed upgrading of the lighting at the Company’s largest depot, Arrowgate, and the installation of a solar carport which will generate close to 295 000 kWh per year.
“This project is a perfect example of a phased approach that enables a facility to work towards a more sustainable future over time. The collaboration with the City of Cape Town means that it will benefit people throughout the city for many years to come” said David Masureik, CEO, New Southern Energy.
New Southern Energy recently won an award for the Best Solar Hybrid System between >100 and <1MWp for their project Sossusvlei, in the 2019 Solar Hybrid Installation of the Year Competition sponsored by Herholdts Renewable, and is one of South Africa’s leading engineering, procurement, and construction companies.