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MTN unveils first concentrated solar plant

Telecommunications giant MTN this week unveiled Africa's first concentrating solar cooling plant, paving the way for South African companies to adopt similar strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.
The more than R5 million concentrating solar power (CSP) plant, which would power MTN's energy-intensive data centres, had a peak cooling capacity of 330 kW and comprised 242 solar mirrors tracking the sun from an area of 484 m2.

The system tracked the sun to generate pressurised hot water, which powered absorption chillers producing chilled water circulated into the data centre, based in Roodepoort, for the cooling of the information technology equipment.

MTN capital projects group GM Brandon Gombert explained that the CSP plant shaved more than R1 million a year off the JSE-listed group's energy bill and eliminated the consumption of enough electricity to power 70 houses from the strained national grid.

The rooftop plant, which would also prevent about 280 t/y of carbon dioxide emissions, facilitated the entry of German technology into South Africa, opening a gap for job creation through local manufacturing of the components.

Additional information:
News date: 10/07/2014

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