June 2021.

Soutpan Solar Power, located close to Vivo, in the Blouberg Local Municipal area, has launched a supplier development programme that includes upskilling employees with a view to stimulating future local employment.

The current programme beneficiaries include E-Security, a private security company that is employed by the solar plant, as well as six general workers, including three youth, who tend to the vegetation control, plant maintenance and solar panel washing.

“Our collaborative programme brings E-Security and the six general workers together, with the intention of providing plant maintenance training to E-Security, so that the company can diversify, develop and expand their business offering. In addition to the support being provided to E Security, the team operating on the ground have also been able to upgrade their skills towards a mechanised operation for vegetation control,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Practitioner for Soutpan Solar Power.

Soutpan Solar Power has recently purchased new plant maintenance equipment including four ride-on lawnmowers, a grass cutting slasher, grass removal rake and weed eaters to assist with this initiative. This is considered as essential equipment as grass cutting and panel cleaning directly impact the solar plant’s power output.

“Overgrown vegetation and dirty panels affect our solar plant’s performance and therefore our revenue,” concluded Theka, who also noted that this supplier development programme forms part of Soutpan Solar Power’s broader Economic Development Programme.