Pretoria - Owners of Wonderpark Shopping Mall, Emira Property Fund, have installed at least 9 545 solar panels on the rooftop to reduce the centre’s reliance on the national electricity grid and also to mitigate the damaging effects of load shedding.
The solar panels farm was completed in three phases and the total peak power of the plant is 4.4 megawatts, currently producing 150 000kwh per month on average.
Company’s asset manager in Pretoria, Adriaan Gronum, made the project known during a media tour on Friday at the mall, where he said that the initiative had lessened its demand from the City of Tshwane’s power supply.
He said the centre in Karenpark has a generator as a back-up.
Regarding the efficiency of solar panels, he said: “Phase one is still the best performing because it was put in the optimum position on the roof.
“The roof space that is available is inefficient because if you put solar panels on the east side you only get power production from 12 noon. I believe that we mostly covered efficient parts on the roof.”
Apart from the solar panels, the mall has started a nursery vegetable garden in its backyard.
Local non-profit organisations were said to be beneficiaries of vegetables which were donated to them during harvesting time.
The compost was also produced in-house.
“The cuttings and dead plant materials are placed in a composting structure to become compost. To grow strong, healthy plants and vegetables we use this nutritious plant food,” the company said.
In addition, they said, that the centre needed to increase the number of Portulacaria afra plants, better known as spekboom, in their collection. The plants are used both inside the centre and the gardens.
“In our nursery we grow spekboompies from cuttings, which we distribute to the Emira portfolio locations and shopping centres as needed. It is our goal to cultivate (more) spekboompies by the end of November this year,” they said.
The centre has currently two healthy beehives with a plan afoot to add another by the end of the year.
“A total of 35kg of honey was harvested during our first harvest,” they said.
More good news is that the company is also a proud recycler.
“The centre recycles 10.2 tons of cardboard each month as well as 400 kilograms of plastic and 250kg of paper. The recycling operations are expanded through the planning of a recycling sorting plant to make recycling more efficient,” they said.
In addition, the centre has a back-up water system that is comprised of 2X 205kl water tanks totalling 410.000 litres.
“Water quality is monitored daily to ensure compliance with regulations. The quality of the water and the absence of water-borne diseases are tested biannually. The water quality is maintained by an automated dosing system. If any irregularities are detected the system automatically shuts down,” they said.
At least 9.1 million shoppers who visit the mall annually would take solace in the fact that the centre has more than 200 CCTV cameras as a comprehensive safety measure.
As part of its social responsibility the centre has since May last year repaired at least 96 potholes in and around its locality.