Vodacom to turn Midrand campus into solar plant

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 06 Oct 2022
Sitho Mdlalose, managing director, Vodacom South Africa.
Sitho Mdlalose, managing director, Vodacom South Africa.

Vodacom’s Midrand campus is being kitted out with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels as part of the telco’s sustainable strategy around energy management.

With this solution, Vodacom says its headquarters will generate around 10.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of its own clean power every year.

This is roughly 21% of the campus’s power consumption, and Vodacom says it will help reduce its reliance on coal-generated electricity from the national grid.

Telcos in SA have been experiencing disruptive power cuts, which has increased operational costs associated with keeping base stations alive and protected.

As a result, telcos are burning more fuel per month, to maintain connectivity and provide decent customer experience, and some have also deployed generators to counter the impact.

Vodacom’s peer MTN is also moving to green energy at its headquarters, as load-shedding continues to bite. The largest mobile operator on the African continent recently launched a request for proposal that will see its headquarters become a completely “green” office.

Today, Vodacom announced it has signed power purchase agreements with local vendors that will be installing its solar system, with the target for phase one completion set for next March.

In a statement, Vodacom says work will soon begin on this initial phase, which will see solar PV panels set up on the telco’s headquarters’ rooftop and carports.

It says phase one will deliver an energy generating capacity of two megawatt peaks (MWp), with this figure increasing to 6.5MWp after phases two and three of the project rollout across the rest of the campus.

“These measures will boost our energy security so we can continue to deliver top-quality connectivity to our customers, while helping drive sustainability targets that tackle climate change. If South Africa is to fulfil its decarbonisation goals, businesses must lead by example,” says Sitho Mdlalose, managing director, Vodacom SA.

As electricity consumption is the main source of Vodacom’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, its focus on energy diversification with solar projects like this is a huge stride in the right direction, notes the telco.

It says the amount of power generated through the Midrand project will help Vodacom reduce its GHG emissions by around 11 448 mtCO2e, with plans under way to pursue more initiatives like these across Vodacom SA’s operating footprint.

Mdlalose explains further: “Everything we do is driven by our purpose to shape a digital society that is not only inclusive but sustainable, too. Reducing our environmental impact is woven into this purpose. That’s why we’ve committed to halving our GHG emissions by 2025 while carrying out our important work of connecting all citizens for a better future.

“Vodacom South Africa is fully committed to our country’s sustainability journey. We’re doing our part to support government in its transition to a low-carbon economy under the Paris Agreement, which calls for countries to reduce GHG emissions to keep global temperatures in check.”