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Solar Farm Means Free Wi-Fi for Rural Town

Solar Capital, the renewable energy company behind the largest solar farm ever completed in the southern hemisphere, Africa and the Middle East region, has committed to spending over R500m on community building projects in De Aar and within a 50km radius of the solar farm facility.

It’s a move that has already begun to show how the department of energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme — which allows for foreign investment in renewable energy and guarantees demand from Eskom for electricity that is generated — can stimulate the economies of ailing towns in South Africa.

Previously reliant on mining and agriculture, the De Aar economy now has a renewable energy facility around which economic activity can be driven.

“We are helping entrepreneurs and developing local programmes directed at helping the community to grow,” says Paschal Phelan, chairman of Solar Capital, adding that the town has already transformed in the short time that the company has been operating there.

Alan Levine


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