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Vodacom office opts for solar power

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Vodacom has announced that it is fitting its Century City in Cape Town office with the largest array of solar panels on a single building in Africa. Nearly 2 000 mono crystalline solar panels will cover the 3 600-square metre roof of the building.

The solar array will be completed by August and is expected to provide up to 75% of all power required by the building during peak production. The power produced will feed into the two main distribution boards and a display panel, installed in the reception area of the building will display instantaneous power yield, energy yield and carbon emission savings.

“The position of the Century City rooftop is perfect for generating a high yield of solar power throughout the year,” says Suraya Hamdulay, executive head of corporate citizenship at Vodacom.  “This is a prime example of how business can take the lead in promoting renewable energy solutions.”

This project is a part of Vodacom’s ongoing drive to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. To date Vodacom has reduced the energy inputs by 12% per base station across the Vodacom Group.

“Our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 31 March 2013 which will translate into an estimated 79 000 tonnes saving,” says Hamdulay.

The solar array project follows on from the construction of the Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Center in Midrand, a joint venture between Vodacom and Vodafone, Vodacom’s parent company. The building has a six-star rating and is the greenest building in Africa due to its water, energy and emissions efficiency. The building houses a team of engineers who investigate and design ways in which Vodafone can implement additional cost efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions worldwide.

Other energy saving projects implemented over the past 12 months include a solar powered base station that supplies the nearby community with excess power, mobile hybrid base station towers that use a combination of solar, wind and fuel cell technology and free cooling, a system designed to save energy by cooling individual elements of a base station opposed to the entire facility.

“We are continually on the lookout for new ways of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions,” says Hamdulay.