Val de Vie, one of South Africa’s highest-ranked ultra-luxury lifestyle estates located in the Cape Winelands, is planning to build its own solar power plant with 3600 photovoltaic (PV) modules to generate 1 MV of electricity.
1 MV, or megavolt, is a unit of electromotive force equal to one million volts of electricity.
The world-famous estate boasts features such as vineyards, polo fields, an equestrian centre, the highly-rated Pearl Valley golf course, natural fynbos scenery, parks, lakes, and mountain backdrops.
Val de Vie is massive compared to other residential estates. It contains a few neighbourhoods, including Pearl Valley, the Polo Village, the Gentleman’s Estate, the River Club, the Reserve, the Vines, the Acres, and the Evergreen Val de Vie retirement village.
According to the recent real estate listings, property prices range from R2 million for a one-bedroom apartment to R20 million for a five-bedroom house.
The estate is now looking to embolden its path toward sustainability by providing its own power through a new green energy project, with the estate already launching an environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for the proposed solar power plant.
The earmarked site for the solar plant is located inside the Val de Vie Estate, adjacent to the wastewater treatment works. The plant will cover an area of just under 15.5 km2, using 3600 solar PV panels to generate one megavolt of alternating current (AC) electricity.
The plant will feed its generated power into the estate’s private electricity network, with additional generation being stored in batteries. The estate says that no electricity will be exported to the existing Drakenstein Kliprug substation or any nearby Eskom networks.
Electrical protection, control, and communication will be installed in the private switching station with the solar power plant. This includes underground cables and a mini substation.
Along with the 3600 PV modules, the plant will also boast fourteen 100 kW string inverters with sensor modules, AC surge protection, DC surge protection, IO Module and harmonic filters. A 1600 kVA mini substation will also be built to support the solar power plant.
When generation from the solar plant is not possible due to weather conditions or maintenance, the electrical supply will be obtained from the existing private Val de Vie switching station.