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Gautrain looking into solar panels to power its stations

Gauteng's express railway system Gautrain is working on greening its operations, and plans to have solar power solutions for its stations, says CEO of Gautrain Management Agency (GMA), William Dachs.

Dachs participated in an online discussion hosted by Arena Holdings on the importance of environmental sustainability in business. He shared Gautrain's efforts to respond to environmental and socioeconomic challenges.

Asked about the Gautrain's plans to adopt greener energy, Dachs shared that two areas are being targeted - the train itself, which is difficult, and its facilities like the stations. Gautrain is working on greening stations currently to get them powered by renewable energy or solar power solutions, as is seen with some shopping malls that rely on solar rooftops.

"Hopefully, in the next year, we will have some good announcements to make," said Dachs.

So far, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has issued a tender to contract a service provider that will conduct a feasibility study and ultimately develop an implementation strategy for the supply of renewable energy using solar PV technology to power Gautrain facilities. These facilities include stations and depots.

According to the request for proposal document, this is part of the DBSA's "ongoing support" of the GMA - based on an existing memorandum of agreement between the two parties.

Dachs commented that the current load-shedding would unlikely affect trains - as there are two feeds from Eskom that are used interchangeably. However, stations dependent on municipality feeds may be affected. They rely on standby generators that power essentials like lighting and ticketing. Lifts and escalators, however, cannot operate, which presents mobility challenges. He stressed that it is important to move to a "more sustainable" renewable energy solution.



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