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HEINEKEN’s Sedibeng Brewery In South Africa Gets A 6.5MW Solar PV Plant

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HEINEKEN South Africa’s Sedibeng Brewery in Midvaal has installed a 6.5MW solar PV plant. The solar plant began producing power in May of this year and is the largest freestanding solar plant powering a brewery in South Africa. It is also the largest within the HEINEKEN group. The solar plant has 14,000 panels, adding up to an energy capacity of over 6.5MW. The solar plant now provides 30% of the brewery’s electricity requirements. The 19ha project will generate 17 000 MWh per annum.

“This project supports HEINEKEN’S Brewing a Better World goal reach to net zero status in all its production sites by 2030. It is the latest move made by the company, on its journey towards more sustainable brewing. The newly installed solar plant follows a water reclamation plant unveiled at the same facility earlier this year,” said Richard Kriel, HEINEKEN’S Engineering, Strategic Projects & Sustainability Manager. He joined local dignitaries and project team members this week for a media launch event.

Kriel says that there are several key distinguishing features attached to this development.

“This will be the largest solar power plant in the Sedibeng municipality. Unlike many solar plants in South Africa constructed in parking lots or on roofs, or in a desert area, the Sedibeng brewery solar plant is built in a lush field covered with wild grasses.”

The plant, which has an estimated lifespan of 25 years, has been undertaken in partnership with The SOLA Group, a vertically-integrated provider of renewable energy solutions in South Africa. The SOLA Group is one of the leaders in the supply of clean energy solutions to private companies in Africa. With over 13 years in the industry, The SOLA Group’s expertise lies in the origination, development, financing, engineering design, project management, and operations and maintenance of renewable energy facilities.

This embedded grid-connected solar project incorporates single axis tracking technology that enables the panels to move with the rise and setting of the sun.

“SOLA is proud to be associated with Heineken and their commitment to procuring clean, low-carbon energy. Embedded generation projects right at the source of consumption help in reducing the load on the electricity supply network without additional grid infrastructure upgrades,” said Dom Wills, CEO, Sola Group.

The construction process took approximately 7 months to reach completion. During this time a total of 127 job opportunities were generated, of which 100 were filled by people from the local Sedibeng community. The various job opportunities include technicians, construction teams, general workers, and community members who attend to solar panel cleaning and vegetation control to maintain optimal performance.

HEINEKEN South Africa is a key player in the beer and cider industry in the country. Its portfolio of famous brands includes the global flagship brand Heineken, Windhoek, Amstel, Strongbow, Sol, and Soweto Gold. South Africa’s grid is mostly powered by coal, by adding this solar plant, HEINEKEN South Africa has taken a bold step in moving closer to reducing carbon emissions in all its operations.

Images courtesy of The Sola Group

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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