13th June 2023. The starting signal for the construction of a solar park at the Rheinmetall Denel Munition site in Somerset West, South Africa, has now been given with the ground-breaking ceremony. The solar park, which Rheinmetall is financing on its own, is expected to be operational by the end of this year. Rheinmetall chief executive Armin Papperger and Jan-Patrick Helmsen, CEO of Rheinmetall Denel Munition, were on hand to welcome Alan Winde, Premier of Western Cape, and Genergy CEO Terrence Billson.
In a speech marking the ground-laying ceremony, Armin Papperger stated that the solar park will lay the groundwork for forward-looking new fields of business for the Somerset West plant, further expanding the company’s position in global markets while simultaneously benefitting people everywhere by helping to protect the climate and contributing to a sustainable future.
As Jan Patrick Helmsen explained, To reduce our environmental footprint, we are installing almost 10,000 solar modules with a capacity to produce over 4.2 million watts of AC electricity. This green energy is more than enough to power the entire plant. The surplus electricity can be fed into the grid. Furthermore, the solar power plant features fully automated backup power generation to guard against temporary power cuts (loadshedding) that regularly occur in South Africa due to supply shortfalls. In embarking on this project, Rheinmetall has reached a new milestone on its path to groupwide CO2 neutrality by 2035, thus assuring not only its own energy supply but also contributing to environmental sustainability. In addition, the project pays off the expansion of the group’s civil activities, which aims to export green hydrogen and manufacture mobile green hydrogen plants.
Alan Winde, the Premier of Western Cape, outlined the province’s goal of securing a reliable supply of electricity for four cities through renewable energy sources. He thanked Rheinmetall for its support, especially since plant’s neighbours are also benefitting from the project. In the meantime, for example, RDM is supplying a nearby preschool with solar power.
Meanwhile, Rheinmetall is establishing itself in South Africa as an energy supplier for the rest of Africa and other world markets, as an exporter of green hydrogen and manufacturer of mobile green hydrogen plants for autonomous off-grid electricity solutions.
The Group has also assumed responsibility for other sustainable social welfare projects in South Africa. This is because sustainablity at Rheinmetall means more than protecting the climate and environment: it also includes social responsibility. Late last year, for instance, RDM opened a Career Community Centre in Macassar. The Centre features computers, internet access and courses on various topics. For example, it offers training and support for job seekers in writing letters to potential employers, interviewing techniques and creating an attractive profile in social media networks. As RDM chief Patrick Helmsen makes clear, Rheinmetall is happy to be supporting our neighbours in Macassar with a fully-fledged Career Centre. Its mission is to equip job seekers with the skills they need to compete in the labour market.
Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd. (RDM) is a joint venture of Rheinmetall subsidiary Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, which holds a 51% stake in RDM, and Denel (Pty) Ltd. of South Africa.
— Rheinmetall (@RheinmetallAG) June 13, 2023