Ford South Africa has announced the launch of a major new initiative to decrease its dependence on fossil-fuel sourced electricity. The company has partnered with Solar Africa to install a bespoke solar carport which will protect the newly built vehicles from the elements while providing electricity to run the plant.
The project forms part of Ford’s new “Project Blue Oval” sustainability and efficiency programme. It is the first of many steps towards achieving the company’s vision of developing an integrated renewable energy solution for its assembly plants. Valued at R135-million, this 13,5 MW solution will be one of the largest solar carports in the world.
According to Ockert Berry, Ford South Africa’s vice-president for operations, the project will be built at the company’s vehicle assembly plant at Silverton, Tshwane. Project Blue Oval will provide the company’s full energy requirements for electricity generation, gas, heating, and cooling, thereby neutralising its CO2 footprint, within the next four years. It will also make the Silverton assembly plant the first of Ford’s plants anywhere in the world to be totally energy self-sufficient.
David McDonald, the managing director of Solar Africa, says that his company will ensure that the solar carport system will be professionally installed, properly maintained, constantly monitored, insured, and kept at optimum performance.
He explained that to offer the fleet of newly built vehicles adequate protection from the elements, including hail, and support the 31 000 PV panels, a bespoke cantilever carport will be installed at the Silverton plant.
Project Blue Oval won’t only benefit Ford, Berry said. The project will create over 5000 new jobs for people living near the facility over the coming years.
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org