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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist


FNB plans to install solar power at 100 branches across SA

SA's energy crisis has prompted FNB to install renewable energy infrastructure at branches.


First National Bank (FNB) recently announced plans to install solar panels at branches across the country, to counter the disruptive effects of load shedding.

The bank said the initiative is geared towards improving uninterrupted access to services during periods of load shedding – while also accelerating its commitment to environmental sustainability.

FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said nearly 97% of the bank’s branches are already equipped with backup power solutions, including uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) and lithium batteries.

ALSO READ: Installing solar panels? Watch out for fire risk

“However, in keeping up with our commitment to have a positive impact on the environment and be more resilient in our operations – it’s necessary to transition to renewable energy sources,” Celliers said.

The project will be rolled out in phases, with Mthatha, Bethlehem, Phuthaditjhaba and Zeerust being the first towns to receive the solar upgrade.

Money matters

When it comes to installation costs – as projects of this magnitude can be expensive – FNB Points of Presence CEO, Lee-Anne van Zyl, said clients will not be footing the bill.

“Funding for this project was budgeted for and will have no impact at all on bank fees,” Van Zyl told The Citizen.

ALSO READ: Rooftop solar: Taxpayers want clarity on the cost to generate their own power

Lessons from the past

Vodacom’s Cape Town Headquarters caught ablaze in July, in a suspected solar panel fire incident.

When asked about fire safety concerns, Van Zyl said the bank has put safety measures in place.

“All installations adhere to safety and health standards, as well as applicable laws or accreditation requirements.”

Aside from having compliance certificates issued on all installations, Van Zyl said the bank has original manufacturer warranties in place for all solar panels and inverters purchased.

“Over and above this, we’ll have a comprehensive maintenance plan in accordance with product manufacturer specifications,” Van Zyl concluded.

ALSO READ: Flames at Vodacom – The fire risks that come with solar panels

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