Title: Sun support


Project 90 by 2030: (Project 90) is a social and environmental justice organisation inspiring and mobilising South African society towards a sustainably developed and equitable low-carbon future. We work with stakeholders and decision makers to identify policies and actions that support climate justice; with a specific focus on developing environmental leadership in our youth, and increasing people’s ability to engage government – through active public participation – to address climate change, energy poverty, and the social injustices that intersect in their communities. Project 90 has been working on community based renewable energy projects since 2012 and specifically on solar PV projects with communities on the Cape Flats. The partnership with Lydia Petersen and The Women’s Circle (TWC) is to inspire and mobilise women and youth to understand the energy alternatives that are available and to confidently make decisions that will assist them to save electricity.

Challenge / Issues women & youth face

“Our lives are determined by loadshedding” Vanessa Reynolds mentioned in our first meeting about a potential renewable energy demonstration project. As the woman in charge of ensuring The Women’s’ Circle remains a going concern and is able to support youth and women in their daily challenges, Vanessa is keen to implement a small solar installation to ease the burden of the regular loadshedding we currently endure. This is one small step towards eventually having the centre be more sustainable, especially during load shedding and with the potential new resource centre being established giving youth and women access to much needed IT options. We also hope this solar setup will encourage some ideas for using renewable energy in small enterprises.

Taking Action

Workshop 1 (15 June 2023):

The first workshop of the project took place with an intergenerational mix of women, arranged by Vanessa Reynolds from TWC. Daniel Robinson from Project 90, supported by Lydia. Conducted a discussion on renewable energy and a practical workshop on assembling solar fairy lights. The full day Playing with Solar workshop was enjoyed by the participants and good feedback was received by Lydia.

*workshop 1 Register
*workshop 1 report from Lydia

Workshop 2 (7 July 2023):

Lydia facilitated a discussion on climate justice and energy access in Cape Town as determined by the women’s needs. Eleven women attended the discussion and the day went too quickly for them. Although the number of participants was lower than expected- the day had torrential rainfall and many people stayed home to avoid the really hectic storm, those that attended were fully engaged in the discussions and are looking forward to more opportunities to engage with Lydia again in the future.

*workshop 2 Register
*workshop 2 report from Lydia

Solar components and loadshedding support (10 July 2023):

Project 90 purchased a small solar photovoltaic system, to act as a support for the centre during load shedding. The 300w Inverter is supported by a 100w solar panel. The system was delivered and the panel attached to the balcony by the TWC handyperson. Project 90 supplied the solar panel and battery pack as well as an additional small battery backup for their Wi-Fi to run during load shedding.

These components were handed over and the Wi-Fi backup installed. Lydia demonstrated how this system will be able to run a PC, Wi-Fi router and charge cell phones during a blackout and will aim to demonstrate renewable energy options to the women and to keep training going even when there is no electricity.

Vanessa Reynolds accepted the handover and equipment to used at the centre:

Upstairs, Brey’s Centre, 5 Mavis Rd, Rylands, Cape Town, 7764

*Handover document for equipment


  • To demonstrate and demystify solar energy as an energy option.
  • To inspire youth and women to think about renewable energy solutions for income generating activities- such as charging phones for customers during loadshedding.
  • To listen to the energy challenges women face and to offer advice on the routes that can be used to address these electricity challenges, especially those of accessing Free Basic Electricity and understanding the tariff structures and how to save some costs on electricity.


Project 90 appreciated the support of ACT Ubumbano for Lydia to continue the important outreach work that she does with women on the cape flats. Ongoing electricity price increases and rolling blackouts are always a huge concern for women, especially. These dialogues open up the options for women to understand options available and to support each other with energy related decisions in their communities.

We look forward to TWC being able to continue their training and being able to support their beneficiaries, even when electricity is off in the area.

*please note that we have redacted cellphone numbers of particpants on the registers in line with POPIA requirements.

Lydia Petersen lydiapetersen3@gmail.com

Lorna Fuller lorna@90by2030.org.za

L Fuller, 17 July 2023

Some feedback from Playing with Solar