Government is uplifting rural communities through renewable energy.
Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane launched a renewable energy system that aims to solve socio-economic problems in rural areas.
During the launch at Poelano Secondary School in Ventersdorp, North West, learners were given access to low-cost and off-grid clean energy for Information Communication Technology (ICT) and lighting needs.
This was done through the availability of a 2,5 Kilowatts Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology (HFCT) system, worth R10 million, which enables about 486 learners to experience the benefits of HFCT.
Fuel from HFCT cells produces electricity through a chemical reaction using hydrogen as the basic fuel.
The system uses solar panels to convert energy from the sun into electricity.
“HFCT power solutions are efficient, safe and quiet,” said Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.
The project also provides an opportunity to demonstrate to learners, teachers and the community that science can solve socio-economic problems in rural areas.
The project was implemented through the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Programme, an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology to promote the use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said that the HySA Programme had huge potential for local manufacturing and mineral benefits.
The beneficiation of South Africa's natural resources is one way in which the country can expand its industrial base, creating jobs and reducing poverty and inequality.
Learners from Poelano Secondary School welcomed the technology as it ensures that the school will always have power.
Keleabetswe Mantshonyane, a Grade 12 learner at the school, thanked the department for the project.
“I have learnt that science and technology can help to bring innovation to communities and this project has made life easier for all of us,” she said.
School principal Gerald Mhlanga said, “The most important thing for us is to make sure we maintain the project to benefit many generations to come.”