Shopping centre developer Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment has invested R16-million in the installation of solar plants at its malls, in an effort to save energy and reduce its carbon footprint.
So far, about 3 MVA of solar energy generation capacity has been installed at three of the company’s co-owned shopping centres, namely Vaal Mall, Middleburg Mall and Springs Mall.
The developer is also planning to add a solar plant to its co-owned Mall of the North, which should be live before the end of the year.
Additionally, Highveld Mall will introduce solar to its energy mix early next year, increasing the total solar energy capacity at Flanagan & Gerard’s retail assets to more than 5 MVA.
All of the centres fitted so far have rooftop solar installations, while Vaal Mall has a carport installation.
“We bring these shopping centres in line with the Flanagan & Gerard philosophy of making a positive environmental impact by using renewable resources,” said MD Paul Gerard.
He added that although South Africa was growing at a rapid rate in the alternative energy sector, it was not growing fast enough to relieve some of the pressure currently experienced by State-owned power utility Eskom.
“The private sector has a responsibility to continue accelerating the expansion of renewable energy,” Gerard highlighted.
Currently, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa grants independent solar generation for installations up to 1 MVA. Anything over this requires a generation licence, and only a certain number of licences are issued each year.
Flanagan & Gerard is in the process of applying for additional licences for their malls to enable additional installations in future.
Future solar plant installations are anticipated for Ballito Junction, Thavhani Mall and Morningside Shopping Centre.Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online