Fully owned and operated by South32, South Africa-based Hillside Aluminium has collaborated with Solana Energy to provide entry of renewable energy to one of the country’s most crucial commercial hubs.
With its launch in June 2022, this multi-phased project will enable renewable solar power infrastructure to be introduced into Richards Bay and King Cetshwayo District (KCD), adding between 2MW and 2.5MW of renewable energy capacity to the local grid within a year. This will allow businesses that supply Hillside Aluminium to start experiencing the benefits of renewable energy.
This partnership will lower electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions for workers and businesses, and drive investment that will support the transition to a low-carbon economy in the region.
Rob Jackson, the Vice President of Supply at South32, said, "This partnership is a wonderful example of our enterprise and supplier development work in action. It will support local businesses to grow and provide training opportunities to the local community while boosting sustainable energy."
However, on a further note, it has been determined that this partnership will also reinforce new venture creation through the roll-out of an installer base for both consumer and small business solar power and battery storage installations.
A team comprising of ten promising candidates from KCD will be pinpointed to functionalize five new micro-franchises, while they will be managing solar photovoltaic installations for households and small, micro and medium enterprises on an innovative monthly payment basis.
Calvin Mkhabela, the Operational Vice-President at Hillside Aluminium stated, “This project provides a significant local economic opportunity with a combination of skills, jobs, economic participation and equitable access to energy.”
“As a key player in the Richards Bay economy, we have a responsibility to identify and support projects that will facilitate the creation of jobs for the future and economic growth for the entire region. We are excited to partner with Solana Energy on this.”
Furthermore, a solar training institute will also be developed to skill-up youth electricians who entered the arena of solar photovoltaic technology via an attributed initiative.