Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger break ground for new Solar Power Plant


Somerset West, Western Cape – On 26 April 2023, Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) conducted a ground-breaking ceremony for a Solar Power Farm. The R72 Million Solar Farm is RDM’s investment toward a greener future. This aligns with RDM’s renewable strategy, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The 5-megawatt (MW) Solar Power plant will be able to power the Somerset West operations with a high possibility of exporting clean surplus energy back to the grid. RDM aims to construct similar solutions for all its Operations.

Speaking at the Groundbreaking ceremony, Rheinmetall AG CEO Armin Papperger said: Rheinmetall is laying a foundation that will enable us to open up new business areas here at the site to continue to operate successfully in the future and to expand the company’s position in the world markets, at the same time contribute to the well-being and a humane future of all.”

Rheinmetall Denel Munition CEO Jan-Patrick Helmsen said: “We are laying 9204 solar panels with the capacity to generate over 4.2 million Watts of AC Power Somerset Operations. Reducing our carbon footprints has been our motivation to invest in Solar Plants. At the same time, we are integrating this Solar PV Power Plant with a fully automated backup power generation that can sustain the Solar PV Power output, which works like a mini Power Grid. This will ensure our Operation is immune from load-shedding. Incorporating renewable energy in our operations has proven critical for sustainability and energy security. ”

The Premier of Western Cape, Alan Winde, was quoted saying the Western Cape is in the process of making four towns in the Province load-shedding free through renewable energy and shared the same sentiments as the country regarding how the energy crisis has inconvenienced various sectors of the economy including the education system, he further said as the government of Western Cape they are preparing care-packs for indigenous households to assist during load shedding and thank Rheinmetall for being part of the energy solution.

The construction of this Solar Power Plant is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2023. The project will create job opportunities, especially for our host community in Macassar.

RDM also extended its innovation to its neighbour, Bundle of Joy Pre-school, which is now solar-powered. RMD is establishing itself as one of the Energy suppliers in South Africa for Africa and for the export markets with Localization of Solar PV, Export of Green Hydrogen, and Production of Mobile Green Hydrogen Plants as an independent power solution for various applications. RDM is in the process of replacing its combustion engine with e-mobility in the plant.

Recently Rheinmetall committed to invest R251 million in Renewable Energy in South Africa during the 5th Presidential Investment Summit.  Furthermore, Rheinmetall introduced e-mobility to its operations. They are replacing the entire combustion engine fleet with e-cars and hybrid vehicles, including lithium-ion powered forklifts. In addition, at the beginning of July 2022, Rheinmetall introduced e-scooters, including a charging station and two mini e-buses, which will be used for commuting at Somerset West and Boskop sites.