S.African logistics property firm Equites to increase solar capacity

By Tannur Anders

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African property group Equites plans to increase its solar capacity as part of efforts to diversify its revenue, its Chief Operating Officer Riaan Gous said on Tuesday, a move which could help the firm become more environmentally friendly.

The additional capacity will be achieved through 136 million rand ($7.09 million) in capex over the next 18 to 36 months.

It comes in addition to the 9 megawatts announced in May, and will likely reduce the group’s carbon emissions by about 20%, Gous said.

The additional 8 megawatts in energy, coming from a combination of 14 grid-tied and hybrid solar with battery storage systems, comes as the real estate investment trust (REIT) tries to grow alternative revenue sources by providing solar-generated power to tenants.

To date, Equites has brought about three-quarters of the 9 megawatts announced in May online, which has reduced the company’s carbon emissions by around 30% for the first half of its 2024 financial year, Gous said.

This comes at a time when companies across industries are aiming to become more environmentally friendly.

The company funds the installation of solar panels on its logistics sites and provides power to tenants at a discount to the tariff charged by the state utility, Gous added. It also gives tenants the option to install batteries at their own cost.

“It (solar-related power generation) will be an important alternative source of revenue and it’s something which we will be focusing on in the coming years to ensure that we increase that over time as well.”

The logistics-focused REIT’s total solar installed capacity more than doubled over the six months ended Aug. 31, compared with the same period a year ago.

On Tuesday, the group announced the distribution of 65.37 cents per share for its half-year ended Aug. 31, down from 81.58 cents a year earlier.

($1 = 19.1697 rand)

(Reporting by Tannur Anders; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan, Bhargav Acharya and Louise Heavens)