Extrupet switches to solar energy to help tackle climate change

Johannesburg, South Africa, 4 August 2021New state-of-the-art 1.3MWp solar power plant to power green recycling for the African continent.

Extrupet, one of the largest and most advanced recyclers of plastics on the African continent, today commenced the operation of their brand new 1.3MWp solar power plant, built in collaboration with Solarise Africa and NEC XON.

“Climate change is the greatest existential threat ever faced by humanity. It is the duty of every organisation to change the way it does business and adopt eco-friendly practices to help reduce climate change,” said Vijay Naidu, Joint Managing Director at Extrupet. Extrupet recycles more than 4 million PET bottles every day at their Wadeville facility.

“Being one of the pioneering recycling companies in Africa, everything we do is dedicated towards building a greener tomorrow. We are always looking at new ways to reduce energy expenditure and decrease our impact on the environment, and a switch to solar energy was the next logical step towards a sustainable future,” he continued.

The 1.3MWp solar plant has an annual generation capacity of 2GWh and will reduce their carbon emissions by 1800 tonnes every year, which is equal to the carbon sequestered by just under 31,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

“We started the journey with Solarise Africa and NEC XON two years ago and today we are proud to be one of the first companies in the recycling industry to adopt solar power. This is a significant investment, and we challenge other industries to do the same. We look forward to a very long and fruitful relationship with Solarise Africa and NEC XON,” Naidu said.

Solarise Africa provided the full-service commercial solution to finance the project. “In addition to being one of the most innovative recyclers on the African continent, Extrupet wanted to take their commitment to sustainable development even further by utilising solar power,” said Sakkie van Wijk, Chief Commercial Officer at Solarise Africa. “Not only is solar energy better for the environment, but it will also bring down electricity costs an estimated 30% from the first month and savings of around R130M to R140M over the course of the lifecycle of the solar plant.”

“At Solarise Africa, we believe in collaboration and working with our partners to help Africa thrive. In spite of the global pandemic and all the related challenges, the team  managed to deliver on time. We are proud to partner with Extrupet and NEC XON to help tackle climate change,” van Wijk concluded.

The engineering, procurement and construction was managed by NEC XON, the combination of XON, a systems integrator providing custom ICT and security services and solutions in Southern Africa, and NEC Africa, the African business of global technology giant NEC Corporation. “The successful delivery of this solar plant is a very proud moment for us,” said Herman Viljoen, Head of Alternative Energy Pre-Sale at NEC XON.

“This project was particularly interesting because of the high voltage system and transformer integration. This 1.3 MWp solar installation will produce an average 2 GWh of energy every year, and not only will it provide energy at a reduced cost, but it will also ensure that Extrupet has a consistent and reliable power supply, even when the national grid is under severe strain.”

Lungani Zwane, Recycling Programme Officer at PETCO, also attended the inauguration. “We are excited and encouraged by the example that has been set by Extrupet to decrease their carbon footprint. We encourage our members to find ways of integrating renewable energy into our industry and wholeheartedly support any efforts that help stave off climate change”.

Cheri Scholtz, Chief Executive Officer at PETCO also congratulated Extrupet on this project. “Not only will it help to alleviate the lost production time from load shedding, it will also offset the use of carbon-based electricity and improve the current carbon footprint of this important Bottle-2-Bottle plant. The investment in renewable power by Extrupet deserves recognition and we wish the project every success”, she said.