PPC turns to solar as power cuts bite

IN anticipation of rising energy costs and the challenge of sustainable supply across Africa, regional cement maker PPC is considering implementing solar photovoltaic (PV) at its factories starting with its factories in Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn (West Nicholson).


In its 2019 environment and energy supplementary report, PPC said due to rising energy costs and intermittent power supplies, especially in Zimbabwe, it was considering investing in solar energy.

“In an effort to increase our usage of renewable energy, and to align with our energy policy, we have conducted a concept evaluation. This involved investigating solar projects by requesting proposals across our operations,” the report reads in part.

“Based on the outcomes of the initial study, PPC decided to prioritise a feasibility study for implementation of solar photovoltaic (PV) at the Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn factories in Zimbabwe,” it further reads.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its most severe power crisis in decades, with manufacturing companies and households going for up to 18 hours a day without electricity, putting the Zimbabwe’s economy at risk of total collapse.

PPC acknowledged the risk of rising energy costs and the challenge of sustainable supply across Africa, both in South Africa and internationally.

“As part of our energy strategy, we conducted a feasibility study into the use of solar PV power to supplement a portion of the downstream feeders that are supplying reliable and stable power to the essential sections within our operations for the electricity supply requirements in PPC Zimbabwe,” the group said.

PPC said it was in the process of installing smart meters at its international operations and it has completed installations at its Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn factories.

“Subsequent to this installation, our Bulawayo plant accurately measured its energy consumption and, after monitoring the maximum demand, was able to respond by shifting loads during peak periods to realise cost savings,” the report reads.

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