MTN SA’s solar project makes gains

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2024
MTN SA says it has switched on 5 418 solar panels out of the planned 9 000.
MTN SA says it has switched on 5 418 solar panels out of the planned 9 000.

Mobile operator MTN SA says it has switched on 5 418 solar panels out of the planned 9 000, as part of phase one of its solar renewable energy project.

This, as the mobile telephony firm moves to be a standalone independent power producer (IPP), deploying five different generation technologies in a singular plant at its head office in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

In a statement, the company says the project’s phased-approach will inject 700kW into the micro grid at 14th Avenue, making the head office 40% less reliant from municipal grid.

The aim is to inject a total of 1800kW by the end of February, with the battery storage facility set to be installed by end-March.

“MTN SA set its sights on achieving net zero emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of industry objectives. The Solar Park, a 4.9MW solar embedded generation plant, and the Island Mode Project, which will see MTN leveraging a combination of gas, solar, battery and diesel technologies working in cohesion to create a micro grid are pivotal in positioning MTN to go off the grid during load-shedding,” says Charles Molapisi, CEO at MTN South Africa.

In 2023, MTN initiated phase one of its solar renewable energy project, transforming the head office into a Solar Park with 4.9MW of solar PV and 2MW of battery energy.

This strategic move not only positioned MTN as a significant IPP but also promised substantial annual energy consumption savings of 9 300 000kWh and a reduction in CO2 emissions by 9 672 tons.

According to the statement, the head office now boasts multiple energy sources, including municipal/Eskom grid, gas generators, diesel generators, solar PV, and a battery energy storage system. Intelligent controllers enable dynamic energy management under various scenarios, ensuring optimal utilisation.

Anticipated completion of the Island Mode Project is set for April 2024, combining solar, battery storage, gas trigeneration, concentrated solar power, and diesel generators, says MTN.

“Looking ahead, MTN SA remains committed to the net-zero journey, planning subsequent phases to solidify its commitment to the SBTi pledge and achieve the 2030 target. MTN SA remains at the forefront of sustainable practices, driving positive environmental impact while embracing groundbreaking technologies,” Molapisi concludes.