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Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), in collaboration with Darling Green Country Estate and TouchPoint Energy, is spearheading a groundbreaking 6MW solar project in the picturesque town of Darling. This initiative marks a significant milestone as it is the first of its kind in South Africa. The project will unfold in two phases, driven by a collective commitment to sustainable energy solutions and environmental stewardship.

Phase 1 of the project will focus on commissioning a 1MW solar plant to provide clean energy to the newly developed upmarket residential property, Darling Green Country Estate. This endeavour will be facilitated through the establishment of Darling Green Utility, a newly formed green energy utility company. Surplus energy generated by the plant will be channelled to Swartland Municipality for an initial three years, supporting the ongoing construction of houses within the Estate. The first three phases of the Estate, featuring 163 stands, have already been sold out, with construction of the first houses underway.

In Phase 2, SPS will construct and connect a 5MW solar farm to the Eskom substation in Darling, further expanding the reach of eco-friendly energy solutions in the region.

Francois van Themaat, Managing Director (Large Projects) at SPS, and Klaus-Gustav Göbel, founding shareholder of Darling Green Country Estate, expressed their enthusiasm for the project, applauding Swartland Municipality’s proactive approach to renewable energy. They emphasised the benefits that Darling Green Country Estate residents will enjoy, including clean energy and increased resilience against load shedding.

The initiative stems from a collaborative effort initiated several years ago by TouchPoint Energy, a Genesis group company, in partnership with Darling Green Country Estate. TouchPoint Energy was pivotal in conceptualising the project and setting up the utility company. Davin Chown, MD of TouchPoint Energy, highlighted the significance of the partnership with SPS, affirming their commitment to delivering clean energy solutions to the Western Cape.

From Ground-Breaking to Grid Integration

Phase 1 ground-breaking is slated to commence within the next two months, to have the 1MW plant operational by the end of October 2024. This timeline aligns with the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed with Swartland Municipality on 1 December 2023. Notably, all funding for Phase 1 has been secured. SPS will also implement a battery storage solution to mitigate the impact of load shedding at the Estate.

Phase 2 will involve the construction and connection of the 5MW solar farm to the Eskom substation, enabling the distribution of power to customers connected to the Eskom grid. This phase aims to be operational by mid-2025, facilitating the allocation of clean energy directly to customers through wheeling.

Eskom has already approved the project’s capacity, and the grid connection is in the final stages of completion. SPS is also enthusiastic about the potential of this project to bolster the local economy in Darling and contribute to the Western Cape’s transition towards eco-sustainable energy solutions.

Expanding Efforts in the Western Cape

The initiative aligns with broader efforts in the Western Cape to reduce dependence on traditional energy sources and combat the challenges of load shedding. The provincial government is actively exploring strategies to pool municipal buying power for renewable energy initiatives, as highlighted in recent reports by Moneyweb.

Furthermore, South Africans are increasingly opting for off-grid solutions, supported by initiatives that promote and facilitate decentralised energy generation, as discussed in a recent article by The Conversation. This shift towards sustainable energy practices reflects a growing awareness of environmental concerns and a desire for greater energy independence.

By pioneering innovative projects like the 6MW solar solution in Darling, the Western Cape is at the forefront of the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient energy future and Darling Green Country Estate is moving in the same direction.