Africa Data Centres (ADC) and Distributed Power Africa Southern Africa (DPA Southern Africa) have broken ground on a solar farm in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Africa Data Centres Bloemfontein Solar Farm
From left, CEO of ADC Tesh Durvasula, executive of business operations and strategy at ADC Wabo Majavu, and CFO of ADC Finhai Munzara. – Africa Data Centres

The companies, which are both part of the Cassava Technologies group, entered a 20-year power purchase agreement in March 2023. Under the agreement, DPA will supply 12MW of renewable power for ADC’s South African operations, and the solar farm will help achieve this. Other details of the new facility have not been shared.

DPA Southern Africa is jointly owned by Distributed Power Africa (DPA) and French utility company EDF. It has operations in South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.

The first data center to be supplied with solar power will be ADC’s carrier-neutral CPT1 facility in Cape Town, which features three data halls with 2,700 sqm (29,000 sq ft) of IT space and 9MW of IT capacity.

The second phase will see power being supplied to JBH1 and JHB2 in Midrand, Johannesburg, once agreements with local municipalities are finalized.

“Data centers worldwide face scrutiny for their reliance on grid power and renewables, and Africa is no exception. Africa Data Centres is actively addressing this issue by generating renewable energy, alleviating strain on the local grid,” said Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres.

The CEO of DPA Southern Africa, Nawfal El Fadil, added: “We are thrilled and honored to contribute to Africa Data Centres’ mission of achieving carbon neutrality, beginning with the establishment of this solar power plant in the Free State to serve their data center in Cape Town.”

ADC also operates data centers in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria. Last year, the company announced plans to expand its portfolio in Kigali, Rwanda; Lome, Togo; and a 30MW data center in Accra, Ghana.

Founded in 2017, DPA has worked with Cassava Technologies in the past to deploy more than 1MW of solar on the roof of ADC’s Nairobi data center in 2021. DPA also led a 1.2MW rooftop solar deployment for ADC’s data center in Midrand, Johannesburg, in 2019. DPA also deployed 104kW of solar at Cassava parent company Econet’s data center in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Despite major grid capacity issues in South Africa, PPA-type agreements for renewable power remain rare. Digital Realty-owned Teraco is developing its own solar farm in the country, while Vodacom has signed an energy deal with local energy firm Eskom.