Business

This JSE-listed property group's buildings are going solar – already saving R17 million a year

Business Insider SA
Solar panels at MontClare Place in Cape Town (Image: Growthpoint Properties)
Solar panels at MontClare Place in Cape Town (Image: Growthpoint Properties)
  • Growthpoint Properties is South Africa's largest primary real estate investment trust listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with a portfolio of more than 400 properties in the country.
  • At least 19 of its buildings are already drawing energy from the sun, saving the company R17.4 million a year in energy costs and attracting tenants who want to be free of load shedding.
  • Growthpoint has spent R219 million on solar power installations at its retail, office, and industrial spaces across South Africa.
  • The latest project to come online is a R5.6 million solar installation at the offices of MontClare Place in Cape Town, which features almost 1,000 rooftop panels.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Growthpoint Properties is installing solar panels on its office, retail, and industrial buildings across South Africa, already saving more than R17 million in energy costs, with an aim to double its generation capacity over the next year.

South Africa's largest primary real estate investment trust (REIT) listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has a portfolio of more than 400 properties in the country.

Roughly half of these properties are industrial, with tenants like Bidvest, Adcock Ingram, Anchor Logistics, and Distell among Growthpoint's top tenants by gross rental contribution.

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

Office and retail combined account for the other half of Growthpoint's South African portfolio. Retail spaces include the likes of N1 City Mall in Cape Town, La Lucia Mall in KwaZulu-Natal, and Fourways Crossing in Johannesburg. Growthpoint is also a 50% stakeholder in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

With such a large and diverse portfolio of real estate, Growthpoint stands primed to utilise rooftops for solar power, thereby reducing its reliance on South Africa's unstable energy grid and minimising its carbon footprint.

"Growthpoint started investing in green buildings and solar energy over a decade ago," Grahame Cruickshanks, Growthpoint Properties' head of sustainability and utilities, told Business Insider South Africa.

"As we accelerate our steps to reduce carbon emissions on our journey to carbon neutrality by 2050, Growthpoint has already installed 13.2MW of renewable energy generation capacity at its properties with plans to grow this to 32MW by end-June 2023."

Growthpoint's investment in solar power to date is R219 million. At least 19 of its buildings are generating solar power, saving an estimated R17.4 million a year in energy costs and cutting almost 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) in 2021 alone.

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

Solar production and battery storage are key elements of Growthpoint's sustainability strategy of 20:20:20:2. This strategy includes having 20 buildings as net-zero for carbon, water, waste, and ecology, self-generating 20MW of solar energy, R20 million worth of green lease recoveries for Growthpoint, and two commercially implemented Greenovate Awards ideas.

Solar power in South Africa saving money
Solar panels at Lakeside Mall in Benoni (Image: Growthpoint Properties)

Recently completed solar projects include a R13 million retail installation at Lakeside Mall in Benoni with a capacity of 1,214 kWp coming online in September 2021 and a R8 million industrial set-up at the Adcock Ingram building in Midrand.

Growthpoint's newest addition is the installation of almost 1,000 540-watt solar panels at the offices of MontClare Place in Cape Town. The R5.6 million, 501 kWp solar power plant was switched on in June.

Solar power in South Africa saving money
Solar panels at at the Adcock Ingram building in Midrand (Image: Growthpoint Properties)

And while Growthpoint's continued investment in solar power reduces its carbon footprint and saves energy costs, it also benefits tenants amid load shedding, according to the company's latest ESG report.

"Concerns about energy disruptions support our focus on battery backup options," said Growthpoint.

"Together with our solar investment, this offers tenant appeal for our buildings, and we have found an increasing appetite to warrant us exploring these options."


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