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SolarWorld lights up Intaka Island

SolarWorld lights up Intaka Island

Mar 11, 2014

SolarWorld has lit up Intaka Island’s Environmental Education Centre in Cape Town with a state of the art solar installation that showcases the environment, sustainable living and green technologies in an eco-energy classroom in South Africa.  According to Gregor Küpper, Managing Director of SolarWorld Africa, this solar-powered project combines urban development and nature conservation to provide innovative and sustainable solutions that maximise long term educational opportunities for the city.

Set among the 16Ha wetland and bird sanctuary, the Intaka Island eco-centre is in Century City, 7km from Cape Town’s CBD. The world-class spatial design of the multipurpose facility incorporates the physical building set within a conservation area to provide an educational activity centre, function venue, reception area, office space, ablution and kitchen facilities and outdoor sustainable living classroom, all built according to international green building standards.

Says Küpper: “The eco-centre’s energy efficiency is enhanced by the use of new polystyrene and concrete construction, natural light and ventilation and LED lighting, along with SolarWorld’s photovoltaic panels and bank of batteries.”

Construction of this modern, energy-conscious, enviro-friendly green educational building was enabled by a donation of funds, building materials and professional time from corporates and individuals. Chris Blackshaw, CEO of the Century City Property Owners Association and a trustee of the Intaka Island Environmental Trust, says: “This magnificent feat was achieved through a multi-tier collaboration between many stakeholders who donated goods, skills, time and funds, which further reflect the ethos of design thinking which drives World Design Capital Cape Town 2014. We value the contribution of SolarWorld and SMA in this collaborative partnership.”

The team also included WSP Group Africa, DHK Architects, Strong Consulting, Wegner & Carew Electrical Engineering, In To-To Solutions, Lights by Linea, Big Ben Construction and RPG Bridging Finance.

Intaka – meaning bird in Xhosa – is a unique example of nature conservation and property development co-existing in harmony and for mutual benefit. Apart from the sprawling wetlands, abundance of rare and more common birds; and exquisite flora, Intaka Island is a space of balance within the city reflecting the coming together of nature, man and technology in harmony.

The environmental design component of the project secures water purification through the 7.5km canal which pumps water into the wetland and, through gravity flow, makes its way through different ponds of the wetland.

Since opening of the Educational Eco-centre to visitors in 2010, numbers have grown from just under 8 000 visitors a year to 25 000 in 2013. The centre is hosting a range of exciting educational, community and corporate events with visitors ranging from pensioners and school groups to corporate training functions and birthday parties.

A team of nine staff have been employed to run the Eco-Centre and its related programmes and activities. The team comprises an Eco-Centre Co-coordinator, a receptionist, three field rangers, a cleaner, two boat skippers and a rope hand.

Through the project, jobs have been created and people empowered and skilled in sustainable development initiatives. Facilities include:

  • A 2km self-guided trail along footpaths linking nine stations, each offering a different insight into the bird, water life, flora and fauna that is encompassed in Intaka Island
  • Guided trail: Experienced field rangers are available to conduct tours across the 9 stations, providing added information about the inhabitants, plant life, bird identification, breeding habits and more
  • Bird watching: over 120 species of birds are spotted on Intaka Island – two designated bird hides have been constructed at key areas
  • Photography: Intaka Island’s central proximity and large diversity of plant, insect and bird life, it has made it a firm favourite with wild-life photographers
  • Century City Ferry: Tranquil ferry rides are offered on the Grand Canal and around Intaka Island to enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking views of Century City.
  • Boating: Canoeists, rowers and dragon boat paddlers are welcome to use the 8km of protected navigable canals – however, no motorised boats are allowed

For more information contact Leandri at Intaka Island on 021-552 6889 or; or visit

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