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A small town in Northern Cape has turned the sun into a great power source

Sun

South Africa is blessed to be a sunny country, so it is only natural that South Africans are turning to the sun as a power source, this small town has done it!

 

Groblershoop, Northern Cape – Solar power is clean energy that is in abundance in South Africa. Companies like ACWA Power are uplifting entire communities in South Africa by building solar plants in small towns.

Groblershoop in the Northern Cape is one of those small towns that has been completely changed thanks to solar power. Growing up, Jerome van Staaden, and the other residents of the small town only ever saw the sweltering sun as part of nature. The sun was something to escape from on a warm day. Never did they dream that it would be the key to brightening their futures.

ACWA Power built a solar power plant in the small town and not only did it generate electricity for them, but it also created employment for thousands living in the town.

The Northern Cape is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa, and the little available work is mostly as seasonal farm labourers. The province is blessed with large spaces of land, making it the perfect home for a solar plant.

Before ACWA Power set its sights in Grobblershoop, Jerome was forced to leave his home and family to seek employment elsewhere. He had always dreamed of uplifting his community, but he didn’t know where to start. His dream became a reality when ACWA Power constructed the Bokpoort Solar Power Plant in Groblershoop.

Jerome van Staaden. Credit: Regency Global / SA INC

Jerome was offered apprenticeship training, and today, he is a proud Health and Safety Officer at Bokpoort, and extremely happy to be back in his community and with his family.

The vast open spaces that are found in the Northen Cape didn’t always present the opportunity for operations like this. The extreme temperatures were proportionately related to how disadvantaged and impoverished the people were that lived there. ACWA Power, however, has an ethos of partnering with the communities in which they work, instead of subscribing to them. Through skills development and job creation, they are growing a very dynamic economy in the area. In fact, due to the establishment of a second solar power plant at Danielskuil, also in the Northern Cape, ACWA power is ensuring the upliftment of the province as a whole. 

A woman by the name of Lida Adams remembers the exact date and time when she received the call from ACWA Power. She had applied to become the cleaning contractor at Bokpoort Solar Farm. Today she is extremely proud to be able to employ four women from the community at a place where she was always a cleaner herself. She says it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help others, especially women.

Over 60% of plant employees are employed from the areas in which they are situated. This means that the kids in Grobblershoop and Danielshuil have a sunnier outlook on their future prospects. They can finally stop thinking of themselves as becoming farm workers, and instead nurture dreams of being anything from engineers to business owners.

Grobblershoop Solar Power Plant, mirroring the Northern Cape landscape. Credit: Regency Global / SA INC

Harnessing the sun into solar power means that these plants can produce clean energy. This plays a vital role in keeping the environment clean of the industrial pollutants we see all too often. They do not pollute the environment as there are almost zero emissions.

ACWA Power not only works in the solar power industry, but they also have water desalination plants and are now looking to combat problems in the coal industry as well.

Did you know that power plants reliant on coal, have vast amounts of discarded coal that is hazardous to the environment? Well, in Mpumalanga, ACWA Power is employing unique methods to improve the environment. Through the burning of discarded coal, ACWA Power is reducing the pollution of the coal leeching into the ground or causing coal dust in the air.

Here also, massive job creation is in the pipeline, and it is anticipated that there will be a local spend of R4.5 billion in the area, of which R3 billion will be put towards preferential procurement. Through living by their mission of economically supporting the development of countries, ACWA Power is enabling people to realise their dreams and to accomplish more than they could ever imagine themselves doing.

As part of the #SAINC nation-building initiative, ACWA Power is joining a network of purpose-driven brands to share stories of positive progress in South Africa. These stories are being featured across social media in small snippets, just like the one below, but you will also be able to watch the full-length features live on television. You will find the airing times below.

14 April 2019 – eTV Open News – 18:30
15 April 2019 – eTV Open News – 15:30
27 April 2019 – SABC 2 – 14:30
19 May 2019 – eTV – 12:00

Watch a snippet of the story below:


Sources: Regency Global
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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