With PV solar already installed at 16 of its 30 assets, currently generating in excess of 5,2MW for the portfolio with further scaling this year to 7,2MW, Spear REIT remains on track with its strategy to mitigate the country’s current energy crisis by investing in a non-fossil fuel generated electrical supply. Spear’s second phase solar expansion at Mega Park and Sable Square in Q3 2023 will further bolster management’s sustainability strategy as the company gears towards less reliance on Eskom power in the near future.
Quintin Rossi, CEO of listed property group, Spear REIT says, “As a company that understands its social and environmental obligations we have adopted ESG initiatives that are measurable and effective, in line with our people, planet and profit mantra and as such, as our portfolio grows, our sustainability objectives and initiatives are consistently being monitored and improved upon.”
Case in point, he adds; given the current electricity crisis in South Africa, which has been going on for some time now, we needed to keep the lights on, reduce our reliance on Eskom along with reducing our dependence on a fossil-fuel-generated electrical supply.
A year ago the group had already set out to roll out PV solar solutions across 50% of its property portfolio, with further projects committed to increasing that to 63% towards the end of 2023. Fast forward 14 months; only 2 of its 30 assets are now
currently supplied by Eskom – the balance of the portfolio is all provided for by the City of Cape Town.
Furthermore, the City is making remarkable headway in getting off the grid and by 2024 it is projected that an additional 500MW of dispatchable power will become available to Cape Town customers, exposing them to load-shedding only from Stage 5 onwards. “We have also entered into agreements with the City of Cape Town to curtail supply to our large industrial assets which have reduced their output – this means they will not experience load shedding at all, or indeed much less of it,” says Rossi.
Additionally, the group has concluded an R230 million ‘sustainability-linked bond’ with Standard Bank that benefits landlords through innovative real estate finance structures, based on sustainability initiatives and KPIs. “If we take our ESG policy and investment strategy, and throw in Government’s recent solar tax incentives on new installations, into the mix plus the strength of our Western Cape municipalities; all of this contributes towards bolstering the Spear investment case, business continuity and bodes well for sustainable output and production across the region, adding to consumer/investor confidence,” states Rossi.
The Western Cape remains a viable property investment, commercial or otherwise given the fact that the Province has invested so heavily in its infrastructure with an R 120 billion allocation to water and sanitation to support the influx of business and people and the subsequently increased energy demands.