First solar powered desalination plant in South Africa

Official opening. The first solar powered desalination plant in South Africa was officially launched on Monday the 11th February 2019 at Witsand, Hessequa Municipality, in the Western Cape. Ambassador of France to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, and Minister for Finance in the Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer, attended the event.

From left to right in the picture at the top of the page – Deputy Mayor of Hessequa Municiplaity, Johannes Hartnick, Minister Ivan Meyer, Grant Riddles, executive Mayor of Hessequa Municipality and the Ambassador of France to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud.

This plant has been co-funded by the Western Cape Government through the drought relief fund, and by the French Treasury through a fund dedicated to the implementation of innovative green technologies.

In this municipality, 250km east of Cape Town, several coastal villages, including Witsand, are suffering from a structural water deficit, even outside of drought periods. Due to these critical water shortages, this area was selected for the implementation of the first solar powered desalination unit in South Africa.

The project not only constitutes a highly innovative model in terms of French-South African cooperation, but its sustainable and decentralized production of drinkable water could be replicated in a highly cost-effective manner for communities along the South African coastline, as well as inland, anywhere with sufficient brackish water available.

The plant produces 100kl of fresh water per day powered by the solar energy only, to address the normal local water requirement. The plant offers the possibility to supply drinking water besides sunlight hours through the connection to the local electricity grid. The unit has been in full production since the 20th December. It is designed to address the December holiday peak period with a daily production capacity increased to 300kl.

The technology, OSMOSUN®, developed by the French Company Mascara Renewable Water and brought to South Africa by their local partner TWS-Turnkey Water Solutions, is the world’s first reverse osmosis desalination technology coupled with photovoltaic solar energy without batteries, designed to supply coastal or borehole-dependent communities, with drinking water at a competitive price and without CO2 emissions

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