Multinational technology company Amazon commissions its first solar project in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – Amazon, an American multinational technology and e-commerce company, has commissioned its first solar project in South Africa.

Located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, the 10MW solar project officially came online on February 22.

With a potential production capacity of 28,000 MWh annually, the solar project will supply Amazon’s Web Service data centers with clean energy while supporting the economic development of local communities.

Comprising 24,000 bifacial solar panels across an area of 20 hectares, the solar project will offset 25,000 tons of carbon emissions annually, aligning with the country’s 2030 renewable energy plan – a framework for increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix.

“Amazon is committed to working with governments and utility suppliers around the world to help bring more renewable energy projects online,” stated Nat Sahlstrom, Director of Energy at Amazon Web Services.

“We are honored to work with the Department of Minerals and Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, and Eskom to help deliver a new model for renewable energy generation in South Africa.”

The solar project, furthermore, contributes to the region’s economic transformation. The plant is majority-owned by black women and operated by a fully South African-owned company.

“Historically, black women have been critically underrepresented in infrastructure, agriculture, and utility ownership,” says Meta Mhlarhi, co-founder and executive director at Mahlako a Phahla Investments, an investor in the project.

“Energy projects that enable black investment are our surest way to a just transition to renewable energy.”

Meanwhile, the project has and will continue to create economic opportunities for local communities through job creation, particularly for women. During the construction phase, the project created 167 jobs, some of which will turn into permanent positions over the lifetime of the project.

“While we’re building renewable energy capacity in South Africa, we must also develop South African companies and skills,” says Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Group, the South African company responsible for developing and operating the energy plant.

“SOLA is committed to transforming South Africa through clean energy and being able to sell renewables to corporates at large scale makes this one of the most significant power projects in South African History.”

In 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, reaching 65% renewable energy across our business. Amazon now has a portfolio of over 270 global renewable energy projects, totaling over 12 gigawatts of renewable capacity globally. Once all these projects are operational.

The company estimates that more than 13.7 million metric tons of carbon emissions will be avoided each year—the equivalent of taking nearly 3 million cars off U.S. roads each year.

The Northern Cape solar project is another proud step on Amazon’s renewable energy journey. Learn more about Amazon’s commitment to sustainability through energy.

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