Fortress plans to exceed 12.7MWp in solar energy by 2025, says CFO Ian Vorster

The REIT has ramped up its renewable energy plans with yet another sustainability-linked note.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has granted Fortress REIT the listing of a further R1.3 billion sustainability-linked notes following the listing of its three-year sustainability-linked bond of R495 million and a five-year sustainability-linked note of R405 million in August 2021.

The new sustainability-linked notes include a R450 million three-year note, a R500 million five-year note and a R350 million 5.5-year note, with a combined target of 12.735MWp by June 2025.

“By 2025, our goal is to exceed the 12.7MWp installed of solar energy,” said Fortress CFO Ian Vorster. “When combined with our latest note, our aim is to provide a total solar energy output target of 25,000MWh of renewable energy by 2025, making us a significant contributor of solar energy within the local REIT sector.”

He added that this is the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of approximately 10,000 average South African homes.

In 2021, Fortress completed six solar PV installation projects, totalling 3.4MWp. These plants will generate an estimated 6,700MWh of renewable energy, resulting in carbon savings of over 6,800 tonnes in year one. This brings the total solar PV plants installed across the portfolio to 6.5MWp, with more planned to roll out in 2022 and beyond. In addition, the first battery installation at Bloemfontein Value Mart is now operational.

“The scaling up of our renewable energy outputs to deliver more solar energy is aligned with our ongoing strategic ESG plan,” Ian said. “By continuing to install and increase the use of solar energy across our retail and logistics portfolios, it allows us to meet our tenants’ needs, facilitate a reduction in reliance on utilities and, more importantly, contribute to mitigating climate change.”