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Sun City-Tsebo solar success: Over R1 million saved in two months; vital expansions ahead

The Tsebo-Sun City Partnership is excited to announce that the newly installed solar plant at Sun International’s iconic Sun City resort in the North West has surpassed all expectations and that significant expansion plans are underway. Within a mere two months, the installation has accumulated savings exceeding an estimate of over R1 million, considering both energy and demand reductions.

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Renowned as an iconic holiday destination and for its sunlit days throughout the year, Sun City now boasts a 1.4 megawatts peak grid-tied solar photovoltaic system constituting 2584, 550W monocrystalline solar PV modules installed on the roof of the Sun City hotel, said TM Lesetla, Senior Operations Engineer at Tsebo Energy Solutions, who installed the system. “These panels are married into Sun City’s internal electrical network, including twelve 112 kW installed inverters, to feed the power produced on the roof to the delivery points.

“While an annual net saving of R3.2 million was projected, data acquired from the plant’s intelligent consumption dashboard shows that 413,871 kWh in energy savings were achieved, resulting in an estimate of over R1 million in savings in just over two months – highlighting the efficiency and value proposition of transitioning to renewable energy solutions,” says Aubrey McElnea, CEO of Tsebo Facilities Solutions. 

Sun City General Manager, Brett Hoppé, shared during a recent media rooftop tour of the event, “We are super-excited about what it has been producing to date, and we have immediately embarked on another 10% on top of what we have.” Elaborating on this momentum, he disclosed that an additional 209 panels are set to be mounted by November, enhancing the installed capacity to just under 1.6 MW.

Following this, the Partnership is working on a large-scale project that will entirely take the Resort off the national grid while adding about 20% to 30% in excess of its electricity requirements. “We are deep into that particular project’s evaluation phase and will have the evaluation phase completed by the end of December,” Hoppé explained. 

From a sustainability perspective, the solar plant will see the Resort reduce its annual CO2 equivalent emissions by over 2,510 metric tons per annum. The current displacement of kWh yield produced by the solar plant each year equals what 329 average-sized South African households consume annually – both positive contributions to mitigating energy reduction and climate change. 

This is one of the many initiatives that Sun City, in particular, and Sun International, are rolling out to reduce energy use both from a supply and demand perspective. Efficient lighting, HVAC retrofits and reconfigurations, water-heating and a gradual move to renewables all form part of the plan,” said Hoppé.

Sun City Sustainability Manager Lwazi Mswelanto said, “Sun International’s sustainability approach ensures we continue to meet our vision of providing memorable experiences for our guests, providing employment for our people, delivering superior shareholder returns, creating genuine value for the communities in which we operate and making sure we reduce our environmental footprint at the same time.”

­­­­­­­­­ “Our array of innovative solutions and over five decades of experience, positions Tsebo as a strategic Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) accelerator. Working with like-minded companies, whether suppliers, partners or clients – like Sun City, to achieve sustainability targets more effectively and efficiently,” concludes McElnea. 

The investment will pay for itself within five years, driven by above-average annual electricity price escalations. The plant has an expected lifespan of beyond 25 years when coupled with a well-planned preventative maintenance regime.

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