WSP appointed to Africa’s largest single-roof photovoltaic array

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Global design, engineering and management consultancy, WSP Group, has been appointed for the installation of the largest single-roof photovoltaic array in Africa to add value to the already iconic Vodacom Century City building in Cape Town.

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We hope that this will aid awareness around renewable energy initiatives in a power shortage ridden South Africa.

Global design, engineering and management consultancy, WSP Group, has been appointed for the installation of the largest single-roof photovoltaic array in Africa to add value to the already iconic Vodacom Century City building in Cape Town.

The installation of the 500kWp installation capacity array project, is well underway and is scheduled for completion in August 2012.
Nearly 2000 mono crystalline solar panels will cover the 3 600m² roof of the building. The solar array is expected to provide up to 75% of all power required by the building during peak production. The power produced will feed into the two main distribution boards and a display panel installed in the reception area of the building will display instantaneous power yield, energy yield and carbon emission savings.
The project is a part of Vodacom's ongoing drive to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. The solar array project follows on from the construction of the Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Center in Midrand.

Suraya Hamdulay, executive head of corporate citizenship at Vodacom said: “The position of the Century City roof-top is perfect for generating a high yield of solar power throughout the year. This is a prime example of how business can take the lead in promoting renewable energy solutions.”

Hamdulay said: “Our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 31 March 2013 which will translate into an estimated 79 000 tons saving.We are continually on the lookout for new ways of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions,” said Hamdulay.

WSP has been appointed as consulting engineer, project manager and construction monitor of the solar array project, having already assisted with performing initial feasibility studies and budgets, developing the design, writing tender specifications in line with the local authority requirements and adjudicating.

WSP’s Evan Pedlar explains the challenges faced by the project managers and construction monitors on the project: “The structural capabilities of the pitched roof section were a restricting factor. The existing ceiling tiles allow very little additional load to be added to the structure. Concern was also raised surrounding the waterproofing of the flat roof section and the fixing of the support structures to this.”
In order to meet these challenges, Pedlar said: “The existing tiles are being removed and replaced with the SolarWorld Sundeck roof sheeting on which the panels will mount directly. This greatly reduces the loads on the roof structure.”

The SolarWorld Suntubs will be used on the flat roof section. The existing stone layer on top of the waterproofing will be used to hold these down, avoiding penetrating through the waterproofing. The Suntubs are made of 100% recyclable materials and the old roof tiles will be recycled and used in community projects. “This will be the largest single-roof photovoltaic array in Africa. The array will be visible from the N1 highway in both directions, thus giving it high public exposure. ‘We hope that this will aid awareness around renewable energy initiatives in a power shortage ridden South Africa,” said Pedlar.

Further information from:

Bridget Kennerley: +44 (0)20 7314 4631, bridget(dot)kennerley(at)wspgroup(dot)com
or
Annemie Cowley: +27 (0)11 300 6095, annemie(dot)cowley(at)wspgroup(dot)co(dot)za

About WSP Group
WSP Group plc is a global design, engineering and management consultancy, specialising in projects for the property, transport and environment sectors. We work with clients in 35 countries to create built and natural environments for a sustainable future.
http://www.wspgroup.com

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Bridget Kennerley
WSP Group Plc
+44(0)20 7314 4631
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