An aerial view of the solar panels on the roof of the DeVille Shopping Centre.
The DeVille Shopping Centre, situated on the corner of Wellington and Durban Roads in Durbanville now features a bank of highly efficient solar panels on its roof.
1206 Solar panels were installed on the roof of the DeVille Centre and these will supply approximately 8% of the centre’s electricity requirements.
The project was managed by Spire Sustainable Solutions on behalf of the Tower Property Fund who own DeVille. Simon Penso, Head of Sustainability for Spire’s Sustainability Division, explains that this is the largest solar installation undertaken by his team to date and initial results are very exciting.
Penso goes on to say “The system went live on Wednesday 11 November and within a few hours had produced a peak production of 317 Kw – in overcast conditions. The installed peak is 319 Kw so we are very pleased with these early results.”
The DeVille PV Solar installation is being monitored through a roof top weather station that feeds results through to an online portal that allows Spire Property Management to check how the system is performing at any time.
PV solar rolling out to other buildings in Spire’s portfolio
In addition to the installation at the DeVille Shopping Centre, solar panels are also being installed at the sites of 382 Jan Smuts and 6 – 8 Sturdee Avenue in Johannesburg. These various installations are expected to supply approximately R1.2 million worth of electricity in the first year of operation.
“The value of this power will increase in direct proportion to electricity price increases,” says Penso. “This power is resold on to the tenants and so will no longer need to be purchased from Eskom.”
Spire Sustainable Solutions utilised the services of Weave Energy to undertake the installation. They have recently put the finishing touches to the 319kWp PV solar system at the DeVille Shopping Centre and are expecting to complete 382 Jan Smuts and 6 – 8 Sturdee in mid-February 2016.
Gregg Huntingford, CEO of Spire Property Management, explains that Spire’s Sustainable Solutions Division contains some of the best available skills, as well as access to the best resources and best of breed practises, through their relationship with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). This focus is essential in the present business environment, with constraints on energy supply being a foremost concern in the property industry.
“Spire, as the founding member of the GBCSA, was integral in the successful establishment of the council in 2007,” says Huntingford. “Bruce Kerswill, Managing Director of Spire Group, championed the formation of the Green Building Council in South Africa and he remains highly involved – not only in the GBCSA, of which he is a non-executive Chairman, but also of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) of which he is Chairman. This passion forms an integral part of the Spire ethos.”
“Spire’s newly launched Sustainable Solutions division, and our focus on green retrofitting, such as the recently completed PV solar installation at DeVille, is in keeping with a new campaign that is being launched by the WGBC at the upcoming COP21 Climate Change Talks called #betterbuildgreen,” says Huntingford.
“The focus of this necessary campaign is to bring awareness to the role that buildings play in global warming. The built environment is a significant contributor to energy use and emissions. The campaign further highlights that if we are to limit global warming to 2°C, seen as a manageable increase, we need to dramatically reduce emissions, and better address energy and water use. The alternative is a path to dramatically higher temperature increases, which forms the basis of an alarming and non-sustainable trajectory. The building sector stands to play a massive part here. However to achieve this, by 2050 all new buildings should be net zero energy and all existing stock must have been deep retro fitted. As a result a committed and purposeful approach is needed. Spire has such commitment and purpose.”
“Spire is pleased and excited to be doing its part in moving the built environment in South Africa towards a more sustainable future through the work undertaken by Spire Sustainable Solutions. We look forward to rolling out further green measures on behalf of our clients and for the market at large,” concludes Huntingford.