South Africa to roll out large-scale solar panel project

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An ambitious solar panel project will be implemented in eastern South Africa, local media reported on Friday.

Approximately 11 billion rands (about 1.2 billion U.S.dollars) would be spent for installing solar panels on all state-owned buildings across the eastern province of Gauteng, said the official Bua news agency.

The plan was unveiled by the Gauteng infrastructure development department manager in executive council (MEC), Qedani Mahlangu, according to the report.

The MEC said the project was among several infrastructure commitments that would be carried out in the current financial year.

Though Gauteng is the smallest province which covers a mere 1.5 percent of the country's total land among all nine provinces, it is the richest, accounting for a third of South Africa's GDP.

"We have quantified the available roof top space on the government-owned buildings to be about eight million square meters," said Qedani Mahlangu.

It is expected that the project could generate up to 300 MW of electricity, which would be used for the public service or households.

The move is in line with the central government's national development plan to implement the renewable energy initiatives. It is also part of the Gauteng integrated energy strategy which seeks varied green renewable energy development projects to promote the economic and social developments.

"This will enable us to harness the sun's rays to meet the government's energy needs in part," said the manager.

In October 2012, the first South African solar power station was built in Johannesburg in Gauteng, capable of producing about 200 KW of electricity through 860 solar panels to power more than 100 households. Endi

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