The first solar powered desalination plant in South Africa was officially launched on Monday, 11 February 2019 at Witsand, Hessequa Municipality, in the Western Cape. Ambassador of France to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, and MEC for Finance in the Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer, attended the event with Hessequa Mayor, Grant Riddles and Deputy Mayor, Johannes Hartnick.
This plant has been co-funded by the Western Cape Government through the drought relief fund, and by the French Treasury through a fund dedicated to the implementation of innovative green technologies.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2015 between the Hessequa Municipality and Stellenbosch University. This Memorandum laid the ground work for innovative thinking where sustainable and attainable ideas, plans and programs could be transformed.
Innovative and forward thinking helped shape the municipality’s vision on how to identify energy efficient and pioneering projects with limited impact on the environment.
Today, Hessequa Municipality reaps the fruit of strategic planning through public-private intergovernmental relationships and joint ventures.
The technology, OSMOSUN®, was developed by the French Company Mascara Renewable Water and brought to South Africa by their local partner TWS-Turnkey Water Solutions. It is the world’s first reverse osmosis desalination technology coupled with photovoltaic solar energy, without batteries. The technology is designed to supply coastal or borehole-dependent communities, with drinking water at a competitive price and without CO2 emissions.
The plant produces 100kl of fresh water per day powered by solar energy only. This volume will supply close to 50% of the daily demand of Witsand during off-peak periods. The plant is also connected to the electrical grid. This enables the plant to be operated during peak water demand periods on a 24-hour basis, with a maximum supply capacity of 300kl/day. The unit has been in full production since the 20th December.
“The shortage of water in the Western-Cape is a harsh reality and only by implementing preventative measures, Hessequa municipality will be able to create water resource stability in our region. The Municipality is utilising innovative ideas in combating the effects of climate change, by taking the frontrunner approach in establishing public-private intergovernmental relationships and joint ventures. These partnerships will ensure a green economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” says Hessequa Executive Mayor Grant Riddles.