Alexandra residents to enjoy solar power this month

  • City Power says that its Alexandra microgrid project is on schedule to be completed at the end of March.
  • Once switched on the microgrid, powered by solar energy, will supply electricity to 500 nearby households. Meaning they will not be affected by loadshedding.
  • It is believed that nearly a million people live in Alexandra, but City Power says the microgrid project is more of a blueprint than a real solution.

City Power, Johannesburg’s power infrastructure company, says that it’s ongoing project to build a microgrid to service the residents of the Alexandra region is still on schedule. Despite a few delays, the microgrid will be turned on by the end of March.

This is according to Nocky Lipheko, City Power’s project leader for Micro-Grid Electrification, Grid Reliability and Expansion, and Energy Management, who said that the Alexandra project encountered a few issues early on in terms of material procurement and delivery.

Lipheko adds in a press release that the project should be complete by the end of the month and that the microgrid will be turned on by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who seemingly never misses a photo op.

As for the technology itself, the microgrid – a self-sustaining electricity environment – will use solar energy to feed power into a 1MVA system, where batteries will power up to 500 households, according to the company.

According to MIT, there are anywhere between 180 000 to nearly a million people living in Alexandra, so the microgrid will only service a tiny fragment of the region. This mirrors efforts from Eskom last year, where a microgrid installed in a remote area near Upington was expected to power about 40 households.

For the 500 lucky residents in the nearest vicinity of the microgrid batteries, loadshedding will be a thing of the past as the system is independent of Eskom’s energy grid.

City Power says the launch of the Alexandra microgrid is more of a pilot project than any sort of region-wide fix to electricity woes.

This micro-grid serves as a blueprint for City Power’s evolution from merely an electricity company to a comprehensive energy provider,” explained Lipheko. “We’re on the cusp of a new era in electricity.”

The project has also seen the employment of 65 individuals who are aiding in the establishment of the microgrid. The microgrid equipment and infrastructure will be switched on during a period when City Power is dealing with such rampant vandalism across Johannesburg, the company called it “sabotage” in an announcement earlier this month.

[Image – Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash]


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