South Africa’s top tourist attraction Robben Island to go solar

Published on : Tuesday, May 19, 2015

indexRobben Island, one of South Africa’s top tourist attraction spots, will soon generate its power from solar panels, says Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

 

The island, which once held the likes of former President Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwarts Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada, will be one of the pilot sites for the Tourism Department’s plan to roll out solar power to botanical gardens, South African National Parks and World Heritage sites.

 

Delivering his department’s Budget vote speech in Parliament in Cape Town Thursday, Hanekom said the installation of solar power on the island would take place during the current financial year.

 

“The exciting part of the retrofitting programme is that it contributes towards our countrywide effort to reduce the electricity demand and to start shifting towards efficient energy use and renewable energy use,” he said.

 

“We will be introducing this component of the incentive programme on a pilot basis this year and it will involve the introduction of renewable energy at mainly our botanical gardens, at SA National Parks and at some of our world heritage sites. It will also include some of our community-based projects, particularly those that don’t have immediate access to the grid.”

 

The retrofitting programme is part of the 180 million Rand (about 15.14 million US dollars) Tourism Incentive Programme, aimed at advancing the sector’s transformation, growing enterprises and developing tourism attractions. As part of the retrofitting programme, the department will assess the needs of these establishments and then install photo-voltaic panels (PV).

 

The Minister said the panels will be South African intellectual property-owned technology and the bulk of the components will be South African components.

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