Africa Data Centres (ADC) has broken ground on the construction of a solar farm in the Free State in collaboration with DPA Southern Africa.

The project is a component of the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) inked in March 2023 with DPA Southern Africa, a joint company of the French utility EDF.

The Free State farm will furnish renewable energy to Africa Data Centres sites, starting with its CPT1 carrier-neutral data centre in Cape Town.

Hardy Pemhiwa, president and group CEO of ADC holding company Cassava Technologies, comments: “This initiative positions ADC as a trailblazer in the data centre industry in responding to South Africa’s energy crisis through sustainable technology solutions. This is in line with a broader industry shift towards innovative, eco-friendly practices.

“The strategic use of solar power showcases technology’s role in pioneering solutions for energy challenges and environmental sustainability.”

Tesh Durvasula, CEO of ADC, adds: “Today’s announcement represents a significant stride in our initiative to energise South African data centres sustainably, advancing our objective of achieving carbon neutrality. The first phase involves constructing the 12MW solar infrastructure to power our Cape Town data centre, with subsequent phases extending to our Johannesburg data centres.”

Nawfal El Fadil, CEO of DPA SA, says: “Africa Data Centres, as a pioneer in the data centre industry, has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability, aligning seamlessly with our company’s values. We are thrilled and honoured to contribute to Africa Data Centres’ mission of achieving carbon neutrality, beginning with the establishment of this solar power plant in the Free State to serve their data centre in Cape Town.

“At the heart of our collaboration lies a shared understanding that the path to carbon neutrality extends beyond infrastructure–it demands innovation, expertise, and collective determination to overcome challenges. DPA SA, backed by EDF’s legacy, brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record in delivering high-quality, sustainable energy solutions to this partnership.”

The project is a key element of ADC’s plans to be a sustainable colocation provider. “Beyond procuring renewable energy, our commitment to an efficiency strategy has earned us the internationally recognised ISO50001 certification for the effective operation of our data centres,” Durvasula says.

“Data centres worldwide face scrutiny for their reliance on grid power and renewables, and Africa is no exception. ADC is actively addressing this issue by generating renewable energy, alleviating strain on the local grid. Additionally, our sustainability objectives encompass achieving net-zero status at all facilities, making this project another significant stride towards reaching that goal.”