NMMU getting its own solar farm

APRIL 20, 2016

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University may soon have its own on-campus solar photovoltaics (PV) farm.

The University last week called for tenders for the establishment of the 1MW solar PV farm, which will be situated next to the postgraduate student village on NMMU’s Summerstrand campus.

“At this stage, the establishment of the solar farm is investigative. We will only go ahead if we get a submission that will work for us,” said NMMU Infrastructure Projects Director Greg Ducie.

Should it go ahead, the farm is expected to produce about 6% of the total NMMU electricity consumption, which NMMU will then buy, to feed into the University’s grid.

Ducie said his department was working closely with the University’s Centre for Energy Research (CER), headed by Prof Ernest van Dyk. Part of the agreement will be for Van Dyk and his students to conduct research at the working solar farm.

“Having a PV plant on campus will, in addition to supplying green energy to NMMU, most certainly add value to the research efforts of the CER in this field.  Access to plant performance data will be useful in many student projects, dealing with PV energy yield measurement and modelling.  The plant will also be a demonstration of the University’s commitment to sustainability and responsible use of scarce resources,” said van Dyk.

If a tender is awarded, Ducie said construction would be completed by January next year.