Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer


From left: Daniel Greeff (Deputy Director Electro for Planning & Design in the Electrotechnical Services Directorate), Cllr Jacqulique Von Brandis (Portfolio Councillor for Civil Engineering Services: Capital Projects and BFI), Cllr Nosicelo Mbethe (Portfolio Councillor for Electrotechnical Services in the George Municipality), Alderman Leon van Wyk (Executive Mayor of George), Dr Michele Gratz (George Municipal Manager), Thabo Yiga (Project Manager: Electrotechnical Services in the George Municipality, Bongani Mandla (Director of Electrotechnical Services in the George Municipality), Roland Appels (Sub-Contractor from MTDJ Projects), and Menno Sulsters (Main Contractor from SEM Solutions Pty Ltd).

The Outeniqua Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) which is situated in Pacaltsdorp, South of George, will be the first service plant of the George Municipality to be powered with solar energy following the PV installation of a 400-kilowatt peak (kWp) occupying an area of approximately 4 800 square metres.

Taking into regard the current energy crisis in South Africa that causes power supply interruptions due to Eskom’s loadshedding, this move by the George Municipality can certainly be seen as a quantum leap into an uninterrupted and reliable power supply, not only to Municipal facilities but to the advantage of the citizens of the City of George.

On Friday, 30 June 2023, the Executive Mayor of George, Alderman Leon van Wyk accompanied by the Portfolio Councillor for Electrotechnical Services & Fleet Management, Nosicelo Mbete, Portfolio Councillor for Civil Engineering Services Jacqulique Von Brandis and the George Municipal Manager Dr Michele Gratz, visited the plant that is situated in Pacaltsdorp.

“We are thrilled to have this Solar PV plant installed and are working towards getting operational to provide electricity to our Wastewater Treatment Works by the end of July this year. Meanwhile, we are also busy finalising a tender process for roughly 4.8 Megawatt hours (MWh)’ worth of battery energy storage that we are going to be implementing, and that 4.8MWh will be split between various installations and treatment works around George to compensate for load shedding and any other unexpected power outages,” said Mayor van Wyk.

“Once operational we will be able to power most of the Wastewater Treatment Works electrical loads during the daytime. It is essential that we make use of renewable energy along with a battery pack which will be added in due course so that we can have the Power to operate our sewerage at all times,” Mayor van Wyk added.

The director of Electrotechnical Services in the George Municipality, Bongani Mandla said that this is amongst the multiple solar installations planned for the City of George, particularly, the essential facilities such as Water and Wastewater Treatment Works and then other Municipal Buildings.

‘Solar PV to reduce consumption from the grid and bulk purchases’ – Electrotechnical Services

“The purpose of the installation of Solar PV is to reduce our facilities’ consumption from the grid, which will reduce our bulk purchases. The facility will mainly be supplied through the use of clean energy and a battery energy storage system will also be installed to further make the facility more resilient,” Mandla said.

The system, according to Thabo Yiga, the project manager in the George Municipality’s Electrotechnical Services, will comprise 738 panels, with each panel rated at 545 Watts. “Then we have the inverters that convert the DC power from the panels into AC electricity that’s required by the loads. We have a total of eight (8) inverters, with each inverter rated at 50 kilo Watts (kW),” Yiga said.

“The system will be grid-tied with no storage. However, it will allow for the integration of battery storage to be installed in the next financial year. The power generated will be fed into the facility’s main low-voltage distribution board where the loads (pumps and motors) required to operate the wastewater facility are connected,” Yiga added.

‘A more stable energy supply to the WWTW during periods of power outages’ – Civil Engineering Services

The expected annual energy yield is 678 680 kWhs, and at a rate of R 1.60 per kWh, the cost of the annual energy generated is R1 085 888. The calculated payback period of the system is Seven (7) years. The lifespan of PV systems is 25 years. The system’s total cost, including a 24-month operation and maintenance period and training of 4 municipal staff, is R7,8 million (inclusive of VAT). The carbon emissions that will be avoided using energy generated from a clean and renewable source is 12 809 tonnes over 25 years period.

In addition, the PV system will have a weather monitoring station equipped with four sensors to measure parameters such as irradiance, wind speed and wind direction, humidity, ambient temperature, PV panels temperature, etc. This data, including the PV production date, will be sent to a cloud, and then pulled off from there and displayed on the SCADA system, for remote monitoring (in near real-time).

The Civil Engineering Services of the Municipality, as the beneficiary says the PV installation will enhance service delivery. “The PV system will provide a more stable energy supply to the Wastewater Treatment Works during periods of power outages and ensure power supply continuity is necessary to ensure quality compliance of the final effluent by not causing interruptions to the treatment process,” said Lindsay Mooiman, deputy director for Infrastructure Planning and Project Management Unit in the Civil Engineering Department.

Please watch the visit to the 400-kilowatt peak PV Solar:

PV installation of a 400-kilowatt peak occupying an area of approximately 4 800 square metres