Nedbank South Africa has unveiled a branch reliant entirely on renewable energy, the first of its kind in the African continent, according to the bank.
Located in Cape Town at Lansdowne Corner, the branch uses hybrid power and runs independently of the South African national power grid.
The electricity powering the branch is derived by solar and wind energy, provided with the help of UK renewable energy company, Kestrel Renewable Energy.
Commenting on the branch’s opening, Ciko Thomas, managing executive of consumer banking for Nedbank Retail said: "The off-grid hybrid installation offers proof of what can be achieved when organisations have a genuine vision for, and commitment to, contributing to a greener future for our country."
Kestrel has released estimates reporting the installation helped reduce the country’s CO2 levels by over 70 tonnes a year, the equivalent of to 25,000 litres of petrol.
According to the bank, the environmental credentials are more than matched by economic profitability: at the current usage rate, it estimated, the branch will have recovered initial costs within two years, as opposed to the ordinary five years.
"It builds on the similar success we have achieved previously with the implementation of South Africa’s first partially wind-powered bank branch in Du Noon, also in the Western Cape, unveiled in 2010," Thomas added.
Counting 5.9m individual and 210,000 small and medium enterprise (SMEs) clients, Nedbank is the fourth largest bank in South African by total assets.
So-called ‘green’ banking has been identified as a driving factor for sustainable economic growth in developing countries, according to Atiur Rahman, governor of Bangladesh Bank.
Speaking at the ‘International Sustainable Banking Conference 2013’ on 2 November 2013, Rahman called for banks to engage in environmentally friendly business, saying: "All banks have their general lending policy for the credit sectors. But the nature of the different sectors is different from the environmental perspective."