350Africa salutes the Department of Tourism and partners on launching a flagship renewable project on Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historical island, which uses around 400kW peak electricity, will now switch to solar energy,  becoming a beacon of light for renewable technology in South Africa. The solar PV microgrid combines batteries, which stores power during peak solar hours for use at night, or on non-sunny days, and solar technology to power the island with renewable energy for at least 9 months of the year.

This video focuses on the symbolic nature of Robben Island as a great example of how communities, the private sector and government departments can take bold action and commit to renewable energy roll out. 

At a time when deCOALonise Africa is gaining momentum with anti-coal and renewable campaigns in Ghana and Kenya, South Africa’s significant Robben Island leapfrogs other iconic sites in the journey to renewable energy and solars up the island. 100 residents currently on the island and thousands of tourists daily will benefit from this project.  

All across the African region, agriculture and tourism are sectors at the forefront of climate impacts. The “Mother City”, renowned for its architectural heritage landmarks including Robben Island and the Table Mountain National Park, is set to run out of fresh water by 2019.

Earlier this year, the city committed to divest from fossil fuel assets in favour of more sustainable investments. Being the first city in a developing country to show strong climate leadership and joining global commitments that have reached over 700 institutions across the world, representing over $5 trillion under management.

As a global organisation fighting climate change, we congratulate the iconic site. Political stalwarts such as Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, those who were forced to call the island home for decades in the hopes of breaking the shackles of oppression and racial division, would be proud and honoured. This is a confirmation of the urgency to fight climate fast and act on sustainable energy pathways.