Electrolux SA to power 80% of its production with new solar energy system
Share this article:
Electrolux South Africa has announced that it has embarked on its journey to exit the national electricity grid and move to renewable solar energy at its Benoni plant.
According to the company, the move will foster it to cutting the organisation’s carbon footprint at its local Kwikot water heater (geyser) manufacturing plant by an impressive 40%.
Electrolux South Africa lean engineer Ughard de Clercq said the organisation was expected to complete the development of a major 1 MW solar energy system at its Benoni factory by November 2021. He said the company invested R16 million in the solar system, which it started building in July 2021.
“We plan to be climate neutral by 2030 in all our manufacturing operations. So far, we have implemented a 112 kWp solar system for our offices in 2020 and have saved over 96 tons of CO2 just this year. We expect that the 1 MW solar system will reduce our manufacturing CO2 footprint by 40%,” said de Clercq.
In a statement, the company said once completed, the solar system would comprise 1278 solar panels that would power the factory during the day, supplying as much as 80 to 90% of the plant’s energy requirements.
"The organisation also intended to explore the possibility of purchasing renewable energy from Eskom to meet its night time electricity requirements when the parastatal is ready to offer privately produced green energy as an option," said de Clercq.
“We did not develop more than one megawatt due to the roof space and current regulations limiting the amount of electricity generated via a solar system, but the government is looking to increase it,” he added.
The company said when limits were increased to 100MW or more, Electrolux would also investigate extending its solar system so that it could sell power back to the electricity grid.
“If the local law and infrastructure allow it, we would want to sell the excess green electricity back into the grid. We would like to be able to contribute to other organisations by supplying them with green energy,” he said.
Electrolux said it would likely also explore installing smaller solar energy systems at its geyser distribution centres around South Africa.
“We plan, in the next two to three years, to start reducing the consumption of our fossil fuels by switching from diesel to electric forklifts that can be charged by our solar system,” said de Clercq.
“We are also investigating how to reduce our water consumption in the future by harvesting the rainwater to reduce our environmental impact even further.”
This latest investment in solar energy at its local factory was part of the organisation’s global strategy to achieve its ‘better living’ 2030 goal of zero carbon emissions, partially by using renewable energy in production.
The investment also follows similar solar systems installed at the company’s plants in China, Thailand, and Australia.
Electrolux South Africa’s Managing Director Murray Crow said: “We strive not only to manufacture sustainable products such as our appliances but to manufacture them sustainably. It is important to look after the environment and do our part for future generations to come".