The De Wildt solar farm started operations on 23 January and this 50 MW photovoltaic project will not only deliver much needed power to the national grid, but also provide benefits to the local rural communities through economic development programmes.
This the fourth online plant in the North West province. It is 100% South African-owned and comprises 169 140 solar modules. The plant is expected to feed 123 GWh/y into the national power grid. Approximately 400 people from local communities were employed on the project during construction in addition to contracted services.
According to De Wildt Solar chief community operations officer, Nomzamo Landingwe, residents of Brits, Mmakau, Mothotlung, Lethlabile, Ga-Rankuwa and surrounding areas will be the direct beneficiaries of the economic development projects.
“These projects will include training and accelerator programmes, skills development training and other welfare initiatives.”
One of the projects is the installation of a waterless ablution facility for the Rutanang HIV Care Centre in Mmakau. This community health centre provides support and services to hundreds of community members, including primary school children. The ablution facilities were installed to replace the use of old drop toilets.
The solar plant’s economic development programme will focus on education, youth development, health, food security and welfare. A percentage of the revenue it generates each year will be committed to implementing enterprise development initiatives. The first beneficiary during the construction phase was the Moagi Women Development Primary Cooperative brick-making facility in the Mmakau. De Wildt Solar built a shaded working area for the women who used to work outdoors.