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Solar Power

Increased electrical efficiency

Another sunny day is forecast

From a solar point of view, South Africa is blessed with ample sunshine. 

The map shows that the south coast region is exposed to 1 600kWh/m² of solar irradation per year. Further inland this situation improves to above 2 000kWh/m², and even
3 000kWh/m².

If your business is located in an area receiving 2 000kWh/m² solar irradation per year, and your business consumes 144 000kWh/m² of electricity per year, you can theoretically zero your electrical consumption by installing 72m² photovoltaic (PV) panels. This is the theory, since the quantity of PV panels will depend on the peak electrical demand which must be allowed for.

Solar map
What does this mean? Making use of solar generated electricity requires carefull planning. The equipment, such as lights, computers, photocopiers, kettles/urns and airconditioners, that will be supplied from solar generated electricity must be ringfenced and measured to determine their peak electrical consumption. Only then can an accurate design and costing be provided.
The costing must now be compared to the existing electricity cost. Remember to include maintenance costs of the solar system when making a comparison.

Some financial relief

Brought to you by National Treasury

In the face of all the load shedding and other woes at Eskom. it is often discussed how Government has failed to implement incentivies for solar energy generation. We are glad to point out this article dated 18 August 2019 and published by Chris Yelland.

To quote directly from the article:
From 1 January 2016, a little-known amendment to Section 12B of the Income Tax Act (Act 58 of 1996) allows for depreciation in the year of commissioning of the full (100%) cost of a grid-tied solar PV system of less than 1 MW used for electricity generation by a business in the course of its operations.

This is great news for businesses wanting to reduce their electricity costs. The capital cost includes design, engineering, project planning, delivery, foundations and supporting structures, solar PV panels, AC inverters, DC combiner boxes, racking, cables and wiring and installation. Note that finance costs are excluded.

This creates a huge opprtunity for business to reduce their monthly electricity OPEX costs at very little cost to the business. Deciding to go solar has become a very simple exercise in light of this.

So what is preventing your business from installing a grid-tied solar solution?


Off-grid System

This system allows you to completely disconnect from the national grid. The system requires a sufficient quantity of batteries to provide an electrical supply for as long as required, e.g. through the night. It also requires enough PV panels to recharge the batteries faster than they are depleted.

Solar off-grid system

There is substantial risk associated with such a solution. In the event of extended bad weather the PV panels will not be able to recharge the batteries fast enough resulting in a power outage. This can be prevented by adding a generator to the system which can be started to assist with the recharging of the batteries. 

This solution is only recommended in areas where connectivity to the national grid is not available.

Grid-tied system

These are the most common systems worldwide, accounting for about 93% of all installations.

A gried-tied system makes immediate use of the solar generated electricty. No electricity is stored in batteries for later use. When the electricity demand exceeds the supply for the solar system, electricity is used from the normal electrical grid. This makes the most efficient use of the solar generated electricity.

Grid-tied solar solution

It is becoming possible to sell excess solar generated electricity back to the supplier (Eskom or local council), and should result in even bigger savings.

A grid-tied system is suitable in any area where the national grid is available.

Grid-interactive System

This system is similar to the Off-grid system.

Solar generated electricity is stored in batteries. Electrical equipment use electricity from the battery banks. The system is also connected to the national grid, which can charge the batteries in the event of extended bad weather.

Grid-interactive solar solution
This solution allows a business to keep critical electrical equipment operational during a power failure, as the equipment will receive its electricity supply from the batteries.

Unit 16, Killarney Plaza
Killarney Ave
Killarney Gardens
Cape Town
South Africa