Dube Trade Port goes off-grid for schools’ sake

The growing private sector trend to establish and strengthen independence from Eskom and “grow the circle bigger”, to use a familiar youth expression, seems clear with the news that Dube Trade Port (DBT) has commissioned its 10th photovoltaic solar system for a school.

This time the installation has gone to nearby Acacia Primary.

DBT Special Economic Zone (SEZ) stated that “the 10 kilowatt peak system will augment the energy needs of the school, representing a projected saving of 38% of the school’s energy needs at an investment of R236 000”.

Hamish Erskine, CEO for the DBT SEZ, said “our programmes are aimed at ensuring that young South Africans are educated and go on to acquire the relevant skills that will enable them to take full advantage of the opportunities that we, along with the rest of the business community and the government of KwaZulu-Natal, are bringing into the region”.

Over the last 10 years DBT has installed similar systems at several schools in nearby communities like Tongaat, La Mercy, Phoenix, and Inanda with an approximated gross value of R3 million.

The larger backdrop of Dube’s social investment exercises in showing children the value of solar energy is made starkly evident by yesterday’s annual financial results by Eskom during which the power utility announced a recorded loss of R20.7 billion.

One of the primary reasons for its profit reduction, it said, was because an increasing number of clients were leaving its grid out of fear that capacity constraints, as were experienced earlier this year when stage four load shedding was implemented across the country at short notice, could once again become a reality.


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