Prison To The Late Former South Africa President, Nelson Mandela Now Turned Into Tourist Site, Robben Island

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The launch of a U.S.$1.8 million solar-powered mini-grid on Robben Island – once a prison to the late former President and struggle icon Nelson Mandela – is the first step in turning the world heritage site green and now means the world heritage site practices sustainable tourism, Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa has said.

The Minister unveiled the solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant on Thursday. The solar PV mini-grid has the capacity of generating 666.4 kilo Watt peak (kWp) of clean energy, reducing the island’s reliance on the existing diesel generating system.

The integrated system carries the entire daytime electricity load and prioritises solar PV energy generation, which is supported by an 828 kilo Watt hours (kWh) battery storage – enabling the use solar energy on cloudy days and at night.

“Today is the celebration of the exposition that reinforces a shared vision for the future of tourism.

“This project is the first step in a longer term initiative of greening the island and discussions are already underway with the management of Robben Island Museum on the implementation of a range of additional energy efficiency projects,” she said.

The Minister said the project now means that Robben Island – once a prison to the late former President and struggle icon Nelson Mandela, along with other Rivonia trialists and other political prisoners – practices sustainable tourism.

Robben Island was selected as one of the eight government-owned attractions in the pilot initiative to retrofit tourism facilities with solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generating systems.

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