by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE installation of solar trees, inspired by the concept’s success in neighbouring Botswana, is providing a source of renewable solar energy to one of the continent’s top shopping malls.
It is also increasing the public’s awareness of alternative and responsible energy sources.
Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) has installed the trees at the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg.
The solar tree concept at the mall’s Piazza, inspired by a visit to Baine’ Baobabs in the Botswana Nxai Pan National Park, doubles as a public art and further aims to bring new energy to the area.
The solar trees are self-reliant, harnessing energy from the sun to illuminate at night.
With a bespoke installation of lights, the trees also contribute to feature lighting in the Piazza, while operating off the grid. The solar trees therefore come ‘alive’ in the evenings on their own accord for approximately five to six hours.
The installation of the solar trees at the centre will contribute towards minimising the centre’s impact on the natural environment as well as L2D’s Net Zero target.
“We aim to accelerate our positive impact on the natural environment and remain bold in driving our net zero commitments,” said Jonathan Sinden, Chief Operations Officer at L2D.
He said the solar trees at Eastgate were an exciting initiative as the company aimed to implement renewable energy projects throughout its portfolio while creating sustained value for stakeholders.
“This initiative also aims to inspire customers to adopt sustainability practices in their everyday lives for the benefit of the natural environment,” Sinden said.
The largest ‘father’ tree towers at 13,5 metres in height and 14 meters in diameter.
Anchor ENGinuity constructed the solar trees, whose panels are set to operate for ten years.
“Anchor ENGinuity is exceptionally proud of this project,” Andrew Kirkland, Founder and co-Director, said.
Eastgate was Johannesburg’s first ‘super-regional’ shopping centre.
When it opened in 1979, it was the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere.
– CAJ News