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PepsiCo SA is saving R3 million a year through solar power – and aims to be free of Eskom by 2030

Business Insider SA
PepsiCo Park distribution centre (Image supplied)
PepsiCo Park distribution centre (Image supplied)
  • Multinational food and beverage company PepsiCo, owners of South Africa's Pioneer Foods, has ambitious targets for its renewable energy programme.
  • It hopes to draw 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
  • It's already installed solar panels at 10 of its facilities across South Africa.
  • The latest solar installation at PepsiCo Park distribution centre, including panels and a battery system, has been described as "one of SA's largest microgrids".
  • Its cost PepsiCo around R120 million to get to this point, with annual electricity savings exceeding R3 million.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

PepsiCo is rapidly adopting solar power at its facilities throughout South Africa and hopes to rely solely on renewable energy by 2030.

Corporations in South Africa are relying less on Eskom's coal-fired power. The highly publicised push for renewables relates to companies reducing their carbon footprints in line with certain greenhouse gas emission targets.

And although environmental concerns top the renewable agenda, corporations are also moving to solar power in a bid to be independent of Eskom and South Africa's volatile energy grid. Producing power independently also lessens the strain on Eskom's embattled generation capacity, freeing up more electricity for the rest of the country and, in that way, reducing the risk of load shedding.

See also | SA's biggest gold mine to harness solar power – combatting load shedding and saving R123m a year

Multinational food and beverage company, PepsiCo, which acquired South Africa's Pioneer Foods for around R24 billion in 2020, is also on the road to renewable energy.

The company has installed solar panels at 10 production sites across South Africa, with its latest project for an installation at PepsiCo Park distribution centre recently receiving municipal approval in Ekurhuleni.

"In South Africa, we are planning to achieve 100 % renewable electricity by 2030 in our production sites," said Abdullah Khawaja, PepsiCo sub-Saharan Africa sustainability lead.

"Our PepsiCo Park distribution centre recently obtained municipal approval in Ekurhuleni to connect a large solar PV plant and battery system. The plant will form one of SA's largest microgrids, comprising a 1.8 MW solar PV facility alongside a 2.9 MWh battery, while being grid-connected to stabilise the local grid."

PepsiCo aims to draw 8% of its electricity from the sun by the end of the year. The company's existing solar power projects have the capacity to generate 5,474 MWh of electricity annually. It's cost PepsiCo roughly R120 million to reach this point, and with the latest addition of its solar-powered distribution centre, it expects to save more than R3 million in electricity costs per year.

To achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030, PepsiCo said it would engage with Independent Power Producers.


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