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A White Enclave Demonstrates Model for Living Off Grid

Most of South Africa is wallowing in endless power cuts, but a remote whites-only farming town in the country’s sun-drenched centre is close to producing enough electricity to be self-sufficient. At the end of a gravel track outside the Afrikaner town of Orania, a diamond mesh gate opens onto hundreds of photovoltaic panels mounted in rows. Africa’s most developed economy has in recent years been plagued by epileptic power supply, which many blame on the ageing coal-fired plants operated by the state-owned energy giant Eskom. After weeks of some of the worst blackouts in recent years, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced energy reforms, urging South Africans to “join in a massive rollout of rooftop solar” and sell excess to the grid. Orania, a town some 620 kilometres (380 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, was already well on its way to becoming totally energy independent in just several years’ time.