South32’s Hillside Aluminium operation has partnered with Solana Energy to bring sustainable energy to one of South Africa’s most important commercial hubs. The multi-phased project will see the establishment of renewable solar power infrastructure in the Richards Bay and King Cetshwayo District economic regions.
Launched in June 2022, the multi-phased project will see the establishment of renewable solar power infrastructure in the Richards Bay and King Cetshwayo District (KCD) economic regions, which is expected to add between two and 2.5MW of renewable energy capacity to the local grid within 12 months. It will help businesses that supply Hillside Aluminium to start seeing the benefits of renewable electricity.
By ensuring the reduction of their monthly electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions, the partnership will create a positive impact for workers and businesses, and drive investment that supports the region’s transition to a low carbon economy.
“This partnership is a wonderful example of our enterprise and supplier development work in action. It will support local businesses to grow and provide training opportunities to the local community, while boosting sustainable energy,” said Rob Jackson, vice president supply, South32.
The partnership will also support new venture creation through the roll out of an installer base for both consumer and small business solar power and battery storage installations. 10 potential candidates from KCD will be identified to run five new micro-franchises, which will conduct solar photovoltaic installations for households and small, micro and medium enterprises on an innovative monthly payment basis.
Hillside Aluminium’s vice president of operations, Calvin Mkhabela, commented, “This project provides a significant local economic opportunity with a combination of skills, jobs, economic participation and equitable access to energy.”
“As a key player in the Richards Bay economy, we have a responsibility to identify and support projects that will facilitate the creation of jobs for the future and economic growth for the entire region. We are excited to partner with Solana Energy on this.”
A solar training academy will also be developed to upskill young electricians in the fields of solar photovoltaic technology through an accredited programme.