The new 390 panel solar plant at Weba Chute Systems’ Germiston facility

A new 390 panel solar plant at Weba Chute Systems’ Germiston facility is now making an active contribution to the South African economy’s environmental protection and energy efficiency efforts.

As part of its green-future strategy, the transfer point specialist commissioned a roof-top solar energy system in December 2020 as part of its integrated response, says Izak Potgieter, ISO systems manager at Weba Chute Systems.

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“With a capacity of 160 kW – calculated on 85% performance – the system meets most of the energy requirements of our workshop and offices,” says Potgieter. “This takes considerable pressure off the national grid, while also allowing us to feed power back into the system when there is excess.”

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The impact in the first couple of months of operation has already been substantial, he notes; the 62MW generated by the solar panels represents a reduction of about 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been produced from coal fired power. Other elements of the strategy have included energy efficiency interventions such as installing LED lighting in the workplace, and the continuous monitoring of heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems to ensure moderate use.

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“Our environmental strategy is also designed to address stakeholder pressures and market opportunities,” he says. “While there is no facility yet for us to be reimbursed for the electricity that we feed back to the grid, we believe this to be an important corporate contribution at this time. We are also building up carbon credits that may be traded with other companies at a later stage.”

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Potgieter highlights that the company’s approach is based on eight sustainable business practices, which include partnering with employees, conserving water and electricity, developing a recycling programme, and prioritising the management of chemicals.

“We are keenly aware that our environmental efforts are part of the broader commitment by the mining industry towards a more sustainable future,” he says. “We therefore pride ourselves on making a positive contribution to the sustainability of the mining supply chain.”

Weba Chute Systems measures its corporate environmental performance against all its impacts on the natural environment – including resource consumption, pollution, waste generation and energy use – to reduce the effect on climate change.