South African munitions factory to install 5MW solar hybrid system

  • Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has begun the construction of a R72 million solar farm at its Somerset West facility, as part of the company’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2035 and independent from loadshedding.

“Rheinmetall is laying a foundation that will enable us to open up new business areas here at the site to continue to operate successfully in the future and to expand the company’s position in the world markets, at the same time contribute to the well-being and a humane future of all,” said Rheinmetall AG CEO, Armin Papperger.

The 5MW solar power plant, which will be completed before the end of the year, will be able to power the Somerset West operations of RDM with a high possibility of exporting clean surplus energy back to the grid. RDM aims to construct similar solutions for all its operations across the country.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition CEO Jan-Patrick Helmsen said: “We are laying 9 204 solar panels with the capacity to generate over 4.2 million Watts of AC power for Somerset operations. Reducing our carbon footprints has been our motivation to invest in solar plants. At the same time, we are integrating this Solar PV Power Plant with a fully automated backup power generation that can sustain the solar PV power output, which works like a mini power grid. This will ensure our operation is immune from loadshedding. Incorporating renewable energy in our operations has proven critical for sustainability and energy security.”

Helmsen said that loadshedding has impacted significantly on the company and cost RDM a lot of money last year.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd (RDM) is jointly owned by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH (51 %) of Germany and Denel (Pty) Ltd. South Africa.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition specialises in the development, design and manufacture of large- and medium-calibre ammunition families and is a world leader in the field of artillery, mortar and infantry systems as well as plant engineering.

Rheinmetall’s business is mainly focused on NATO countries.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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