Africa’s largest solar powered carport

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Garden City Mall in Nairobi (Kenya) brags with the largest solar powered carport in Africa.  With solar electricity being a preferred energy source currently due to the energy scourge we experienced, many countries in Africa are turning to this natural source of energy.  Garden City Mall is in the lead by having the largest solar carport in the continent, this provides electricity for the mall to use for facilities such as the lights and escalators.

solar carport 2Koome Gikunda, Director Actis Kenya commented: “Garden City is a project with lots of firsts in this market, but we are particularly proud of the solar carport. We knew that we wanted a solar component to the project early on but the upfront costs were prohibitive. We’re very grateful to SolarAfrica for stepping in, working closely with partners Solarcentury, and for helping us to realise our vision.”

This project is a result of a partnership between SolarAfrica and SolarCentury, this is in line with Garden City Malls’ green ambitions.  The prospects of this being rolled out in many other countries across the continent is quite high, as this is easily manageable and it is sustainable. Global warming is a reality across the globe and initiatives such as these will help decrease the severity of it. Green buildings are a growing market particularly in South Africa and it is encouraging to see other countries in Africa coming up with such transformational projects, that not only are environmentally friendly but also affect the economy positively.

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The plant is on the top storey of a car park at Garden City Mall, part of an integrated residential, retail and office development worth US$540 million. Solarcentury Kenya’s director, Guy Lawrence said: “We are seeing more and more businesses in Kenya looking to invest in solar because of the multiple benefits it affords – notably, it enables organisations to take control of their long-term energy spend. A system will produce free solar electricity for at least 25 years, the average lifetime of a system.”

The carport was designed using a solar hybrid power system which is dual technology that uses power from a PV system and another power generating source.  This solar hybrid system is not only innovative but it is also still one of a few worldwide.  The solar carport is utilised during the day and is also used to reduce consumption of diesel backup generators during power outages. It is said that this carport is so powerful that it could power up to 55o urban home in Nairobi for a year.

Africa seems to be in the lead when coming to finding alternative energy sources, as this is a major crisis that not only affects the environment we live in but also digs deep into our pockets, so such initiatives are welcomed with open arms. It would be a step forward if this could be expanded into other countries as a means of cutting costs and also saving the environment.

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