SOUTH AFRICA – As part of its sustainable strategy around energy management, Vodacom SA’s Midrand campus is being fitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which will allow the headquarters to generate around 10.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of its own clean power every year – roughly 21% of its power consumption.
“Everything we do is driven by our purpose to shape a digital society that is not only inclusive but sustainable, too,” said Sitho Mdlalose, Managing Director of Vodacom South Africa.
“Reducing our environmental impact is woven into this purpose. That’s why we’ve committed to halving our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025 while carrying out our important work of connecting all citizens for a better future.”
This, he adds, will be achieved in several ways, including through on-site renewable energy generation.
“Vodacom South Africa is fully committed to our country’s sustainability journey. We’re doing our part to support government in its transition to a low-carbon economy under the Paris Agreement, which calls for countries to reduce GHG emissions to keep global temperatures in check,” added Mdlalose.
Responsible corporate citizenship like this is also hugely important for meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for Climate Action.
Telcos in SA have been experiencing disruptive power cuts, which has increased operational costs associated with keeping base stations alive and protected.
As a result, telcos are burning more fuel per month, to maintain connectivity and provide decent customer experience, and some have also deployed generators to counter the impact.
The power purchase agreement between Vodacom South Africa and the local vendors installing its solar system has been signed, with the target for phase one completion set for next March.
Work will soon begin on this initial phase, which will see solar PV panels set up on the telco’s headquarters’ rooftop and carports.
Phase one will deliver an energy generating capacity of 2 megawatt peaks (MWp), with this figure increasing to 6.5MWp after phase two and three of the project rollout across the rest of the campus.
As electricity consumption is the main source of Vodacom’s GHG emissions, its focus on energy diversification with solar projects like this is a huge stride in the right direction.
The amount of power generated through the Midrand project will help Vodacom reduce its GHG emissions by around 11 448 mtCO2e, with plans underway to pursue more initiatives like these across Vodacom South Africa’s operating footprint.
Clean-energy generation isn’t the only proactive solution Vodacom is embracing. The telco will continue prioritising energy efficient practices, such as consumption monitoring through its Internet of Things technology.
Vodacom will also increase the amount of energy it secures from independent power producers through various power purchase agreements.
“These measures will boost our energy security so we can continue to deliver top-quality connectivity to our customers while helping drive sustainability targets that tackle climate change. If South Africa is to fulfil its decarbonisation goals, businesses must lead by example,” concluded Mdlalose.
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