On 25 August, the City of Cape Town unveiled the first ‘green’ transport facility in South Africa that generates its own electricity, enabling it to operate off the electricity grid. Furthermore all the water used at this facility, besides drinking water, is provided for through rooftop rainwater harvesting and recycling. Read more below: 

The Wallacedene taxi rank is the first public transport facility in the country to be regarded as a ‘green’ building from its very foundation to the rooftop. It is largely self-sufficient in all its energy needs and saves thousands of litres of water through clever design.

‘The City of Cape Town is extremely proud to be at the forefront of combining intelligent architectural design and technology in our effort to improve service delivery to our residents. The Wallacedene taxi rank sets the benchmark for future public transport facilities in the country, showcasing the City’s commitment to conservation and innovation,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron. 

This taxi rank uses a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system, arrayed at optimum orientation to the sun, for its electricity generation. It is equipped with 24 large batteries for the storage of reserve solar electricity to be used at night or on cloudy days. From the LED lights under the roof, to the electronic gates at the entrance and the hydro-boils in the kitchen – everything is powered by this PV system.

‘In fact, since 1 August 2014, this facility only needed one hour’s worth of electricity from Eskom (this is an Eskom supply area) which we believe was needed only because the contractors used power tools on site during the final construction phase,’ said Councillor Herron.

It is estimated that the capital cost of this solar installation will be recovered within six to 10 years in monthly energy cost savings.