Going Solar Update

Umngazi has historically been reliant on Eskom power for it’s entire energy mix.

This, of course means, power generated by coal-fired plants and transmitted through massive infrastructure spend, by way of power lines from the generating plants to the end user. In 2016, we decided to try and reduce, by whatever means, our total reliance on Eskom as our source of electrical supply.

As most of us know, South Africa is richly endowed with solar resources; we have some of the highest average irradiance levels in the world. With that in mind, Umngazi is now the proud owner of a 200kW solar plant, which, during the day, takes care of the lion’s share of our electrical supply. This has gone some way in demonstrating our leadership towards a more sustainable future. We still rely on Eskom for some of our energy supply, but, in time, that too should change, as energy-storage becomes a more feasible prospect.

Umngazi’s solar plant was entirely hand-built, with a locally trained labour force, by Freephase (Pty) Ltd, from Durban. The local conditions precluded the use of machinery during construction and as a result, everything from the gumpoles to the aluminium rails, inverters, transformers, kilometers of DC cable and the 780 ARTsolar PV modules, was carried up the hill and put into position or assembled on site. A mammoth undertaking by any measure and an extremely proud moment for Umngazi.

The solar plant can be visited by guests, by arrangement with management. Please be aware that, the walk up to the solar plant requires a reasonable level of fitness; the climb is short, but steep and unrelenting.