There is no denying that we must act now to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut greenhouse gases to secure the future for the generations ahead. 

Renewable energy is the future and one of the best ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

This has not escaped Paseka Litabe (28) the CEO of Autumn Green, a start-up company making waves in the green technology space. The company uses solar panels to cover parts of high-rise buildings in the cities, turning the structures into producers of electricity.

Its solar tracking features harness the sun’s energy in all directions without the need to envelop the entire building, as is the case with traditional designs. What makes Litabe and his team different is that they use existing infrastructure, in this case buildings, to produce renewable energy. “This maximises the solar panels yield using 75% less solar modules and systems,” Litabe explained.

Buildings in South Africa are a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions which result in environmental degradation. According to the Construction Industry Board, buildings in South Africa account for 27% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

Infographic by TYI

“As Africa’s population continues to grow and become more urbanised, the balance between developmental and environmental imperatives becomes urgent as this balance is key towards sustainable living in our cities. It therefore becomes important for Africa to explore technologies and solutions that speak to the African landscape,” Litabe said.

Autumn Green’s products and services also include the integration of sensing technology with new and existing systems to achieve efficiency in the supply and demand side of energy use in lighting, water and security.

“At Autumn Green we believe that technology is key towards solving current and future sustainability issues that threaten our quality of life. We strive to improve lives in both urbanised and rural communities through the use of tech innovation,” Litabe said.

Litabe has also branched into the hospitality sector by creating and investing in an energy-efficient restaurant in the Free State.

“The restaurant is a partnership I have entered into with a colleague who brings in entrepreneurial skills. This is more a merger of skills as I bring the renewable technology capability to the mix,” Litabe said. 

“We want to ensure that the establishment, a fast food restaurant, is sustainable. I also see it as a pilot project for Autumn Green as it will use the technology I have developed for the former, such as renewable energy usage in the customised security system, lighting features and energy outputs,” he concluded.