South Africa’s First Concentrated Solar Project Destroyed and Looted After Four Years

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  • In 2011, South Africa’s president at the time, Jacob Zuma, inaugurated the Hazelmere solar concentrated plant (CSP) at the Hazelmere Water Treatment Works of Umgeni Water north of eThekwini (formally Durban).
  • The plant cost R25 million and had a capacity of 500kW.
  • The plant is now non-existent after been neglected and looted just four years after is was commissioned.

Zuma said the solar plant was expected to improve the lives of both the people of Hazelmere and of those from its surroundings areas. “For the first time, the neighbouring communities will have access to clean electricity generated from their backyards, and with possibilities of job opportunities,” he added.

The Hazelmere concentrated solar plan at the time of commissioning in 2011.

“We are happy that the KwaZulu Natal provincial government has made a strategic decision to begin positioning itself for renewable energy production in South Africa,” he said.

“This is the path we are taking as a country, and we want you to bring the technologies and financial resources to our shores for investment in the proposed energy initiatives,” Zuma added.

The Hazelmere concentrated solar plant appears in dissaray at the beginning of 2015.

Zuma warned that if nothing was done, climate change would leave South Africa with uninhabitable waste lands and socio-economic disasters.

By the end of 2015, the Hazelmere concentrated solar plant had been completely destroyed.

“This is South Africa’s first large-scale offering within the clean energy arena, but it is not the last. We are looking at other possible avenues to improve our emissions profile while creating employment opportunities for our people,” he said.

The plant these days is non-existent having falling into neglect and then looted just four years after it was commissioned.

Umgeni Water offers no comment.

Images courtesy of Google Earth.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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