SOUTH AFRICA – Vodacom has invested over R8 million (US$563,234) in three new solar-powered sites as part of the telco’s energy and carbon management strategy.
The company says the new sites – in Polokwane, Vereeniging and Bloemfontein − form part of the 1,088 solar-powered sites across all of Vodacom’s markets.
The company also installed rooftop solar at its Century City offices in Cape Town in 2012, and Vodacom Lesotho’s head office has been powered by solar energy since 2017.
This, the telco says, is part of Vodacom’s long-term strategy to secure alternative energy sources to power its operations.
According to Vodacom, collectively, the three new sites will generate approximately 127MWh of energy on an annual basis, which will help to reduce the telco’s carbon emissions and lower its electricity consumption.
The latest investment comes a year after the telco installed solar panels capable of generating up to 34kW of power at its Randburg base station controller in Gauteng.
In a statement, Takalani Netshitenzhe, executive director of external affairs at Vodacom South Africa, says the solar panels will also ease the load on the sites’ batteries in the event of load-shedding.
“As the demand for digital services grows, we will need more energy to keep these services running. In anticipation of this growth, and despite the current economic challenges, we are investing in strategies to decrease our energy consumption, while reducing the use of carbon-intensive sources of energy,” says Netshitenzhe.
“By reducing our carbon footprint, our aim is to mitigate climate change and its effects on the planet. Solar-powered sites are just one of the innovative ways to introduce cleaner, more sustainable energy sources to keep our mobile networks running and our customers connected in an ever-increasing digital society.”
Additionally, the company says, the solar projects are aligned with its commitment to reduce Vodacom’s environmental impact by half by 2025.
This, it says, is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, those on climate action, as well as South Africa’s National Development Plan.
Netshitenzhe explains that: “We have made progress in our waste and water reduction strategies; however, energy consumption remains our largest environmental impact, requiring significant investment in order to reach the targets that we have set out to achieve. We are also working with government and other role-players to explore ways in which to transition towards a sustainable, equitable and low carbon future.”
Vodacom last year saved 12GWh of electricity through an energy management strategy, which included investing in energy-efficiency projects.
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