Paleisheuwel, factory of the sun
There is a big chunk of Italy in this corner of South Africa. In Paleisheuwel, in the arid region north of Cape Town that leads to the Namibian desert, lies one of the largest solar power plants on the African continent. Built by Enel Green Power-TerniEnergia, Paleisheuwel Solar Park covers an area of 240 hectares and comprises 611,000 solar panels capable of producing 153 gigawatts of electricity per year, which are supplied to over 48,000 households in the area. Together with the Tom Burke PV plant (also built by Enel Green Power-TerniEnergia and located north of Pretoria, near the border with Botswana), it will be able to meet over 40% of the country’s energy needs. South Africa is rich in minerals but has scarce hydrocarbon resources. Until recently, electricity was obtained almost exclusively from coal-fired power plants and the country’s only nuclear power plant, but production was barely sufficient to satisfy domestic consumption. Today, thanks to a major drive to develop alternative energies (especially wind power and photovoltaic energy), things are rapidly changing. Participating in the construction of the plant was a sizeable contingent of Dieci L3500 and L4700 truck mixers supplied to TerniEnergia by Matpro, one of South Africa’s largest rental firms. They were used to build bases for the photovoltaic panels and the heavy transformers, which are needed to collect the generated power and feed it into the mains grid. The extremely rugged terrain, lack of local water (which is shipped to the site in tankers), and the vastness of the plant (over 240 hectares) are no obstacle to the DIECI truck mixers due to their unique features, which include good off-road capabilities to negotiate long uneven tracks (thanks to the four-wheel drive and steering), and excellent load capacity and output (thanks to the 700-litre drum capacity and up to 3.5-m3 concrete yield): Also appreciated are their reverse driving capability and self-loading shovel (very useful for producing the required cement onsite without the need for assistance), as well as the trilateral unloading, which enables mixture to be dispersed between rocks and thorny scrubland without needing to carry out complex manoeuvres.
South Africa’s future energy roadmap envisages the construction of at least another five similar plants, which will also be designed by Enel Green Power-TerniEnergia, so you can bet that the DIECI truck mixers still have plenty more work to do.