Vodacom has installed new solar-powered sites in Polokwane, Vereeniging, and Bloemfontein to help reduce its carbon emissions.
The project forms part of Vodacom’s energy and carbon management strategy and commitment to reducing its impact on the environment. The company aims to reduce its environmental impact by half by 2025.
With over R8 million invested, these three sites are in addition to a solar project installed at a base station controller site in Randburg, Gauteng, in May last year. Collectively, the three new sites will generate approximately 127 MWh of energy on an annual basis, which will help to reduce the telco’s carbon emissions and lower its electricity consumption. The solar panels will also ease the load on the sites’ batteries in the event of load-shedding, ensuring network reliability, quality, and seamless connectivity for customers.
The three solar-powered sites in South Africa form part of the 1,088 solar-powered sites across all of Vodacom’s markets. The company also installed the largest single rooftop solar installation at its Century City offices in Cape Town in 2012, and Vodacom Lesotho’s head office has been powered by solar energy since 2017.
Solar-powered energy is just one of the clean energy solutions being explored
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Vodacom South Africa executive director of external affairs said they would need more energy to keep services running as the demand for digital services grows. “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. By reducing our carbon footprint, our aim is to mitigate climate change and its effects on the planet.”
Netshitenzhe went on to explain that its solar-powered sites are just one of the clean energy solutions the company can use to keep their mobile networks running and their customers connected in an ever-increasing digital society.
The solar power installation aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as South Africa’s National Development Plan, which prioritizes eliminating poverty, reducing inequality, and growing an inclusive economy by 2030.
“At Vodacom, we want to ensure that as our business growth transforms society in a manner that will not come at the cost of the planet. 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,” added Netshitenzhe.
Last year, Vodacom saved a total of 11,971MWh of electricity through its energy management strategy, which included investing in energy efficiency projects such as IoT capabilities and renewable energy solutions like solar power. This reduced the company’s total energy cost by R16m for that financial year.