Gauteng and NW Province

Gauteng Government launches solar electrification project.

A new solar off-grid rural electrification project was officially unveiled today at Winterveldt Sports Ground, northwest of Pretoria, by Gauteng Economic Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

The solar electrification project was initiated by The Innovation Hub in an effort with the City of Tshwane to provide solar electricity to 50 rural homes.

The installation, which began in February this year and was completed yesterday, harnesses enough solar energy to power lights inside and outside the homes, two plug points for small appliances, solar water heaters for hot water and a gas stove and gas cylinders for cooking.

The Innovation Hub is a subsidiary of Blue IQ Investment Holdings, which is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Qedani Mahlangu, says the project is aimed at providing an enabling environment for economic development by addressing the socio-economic conditions of Gauteng communities. “Many of those who now have solar power are unemployed or are pensioners who survive on grants. The recipients also include people with disabilities, so this project will have a massive impact on their quality of life,” she says.

The project is in line with the government’s target of installing at least one million solar water heaters by 2014 to reduce the water heating load on the national grid. “In addition, solar energy installations will generate employment and contribute to Gauteng’s Green Economy by mitigating climate change, contributing to clean energy generation, security and self-efficiency,” says Mahlangu.

McLean Sibanda, The Innovation Hub CEO, says the installation aims to address the significant challenges of broad access to electricity and energy security in Gauteng. “There are significant resource constraints to delivering electricity. As The Innovation Hub, we are pleased to be involved in this project,” says Sibanda.

Article Source: Gauteng

(April 2, 2012)

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