Amazon Web Services has announced its first solar project in South Africa is now operational and is feeding electricity into the national grid.
The 10MW solar farm is located in the Northern Cape and supplies renewable energy to AWS data centres.
“The solar project is expected to generate up to 28,000MWh of renewable energy per year, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of over 8,000 average South African homes,” Amazon said.
AWS Energy director Nat Sahlstrom said the company was honoured to work with the Department of Minerals and Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), and Eskom to help deliver a “new model for renewable energy generation”.
“This project brings Amazon closer to achieving net-zero carbon by 2040 and powering our operations with 100% renewable energy, a commitment we’re on path to achieve five years early,” Sahlstrom said.
The Amazon solar farm consists of more than 24,000 bifacial solar modules covering an area of 20 hectares.
The solar photovoltaic panels track the sun throughout the day, absorbing irradiance from the sky and reflected light from the ground.
Amazon estimated the project design would result in more than 25,000 tons of carbon emissions avoided annually, the equivalent of removing 5,400 cars from the road for a year.
The project also created 167 jobs during construction, 63% from the local surrounding area.
Amazon added it would sustain permanent jobs for its lifetime in electrical maintenance, operation, and security.
Unused materials from construction, including pallets and electrical cable drums, were donated to local furniture businesses and special skills schools to support small, medium, and micro-enterprises.