South-African shopping mall to be linked to PV power plant
A 500 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant was designed and is being installed by Sustainable Power Solutions (Pty) Ltd. (SPS) at Bayside Mall, corner of West Coast and Blaauwberg Roads, Tableview. Once commissioned for the owners and operators of Bayside Mall – Acucap Properties Limited – the solar PV power plant will form part of their ‘We’re Going Green’ campaign, alongside other initiatives such as harvested rain-water, to provide a truly ‘green shopper experience’. The electricity generated by the solar plant during the day will feed into the shopping centre’s electricity grid and be used by all the tenants and shoppers throughout the Mall. The solar plant will offset approximately 5 % of Bayside Mall’s electricity consumption per annum, and being a first pilot for the owners – can be expanded at a later stage.
The solar PV plant operates completely autonomously and requires no intervention by the owner, and the system will be monitored by a SynaptiQ Monitoring System with a weather station, further optimising the operations of the plant. ‘SynaptiQ enables the operators to reach the highest performances at any moment’ says Geert Palmers, CEO of 3E. The solar PV plant requires minimal maintenance, and Bayside Mall’s solar modules will be cleaned regularly during the year to ensure optimal production in a salt-air environment close to the sea and amongst a high marine-bird population.
Referring to the impact for the South-African energy market, Geert Palmers explains: “Solar PV will change the energy scene drastically in South-Africa and projects like this one will serve as examples for other sectors. 3E wants to support investors and operators to get the highest returns and manage risks.” Axel Scholle, Managing Director of Sustainable Power Solutions, sees solar energy as the logical power source of the future in South Africa. “Harnessing the sun’s energy through solar power to support commercial activities is a natural step for the retail sector in their drive to achieve their sustainability goals.” To support his view, he adds that, sooner rather than later, the utilities will need to start charging cost reflective tariffs, and that the pricing of solar PV plants is becoming increasingly competitive. “PV is becoming a mainstream power generation solution,” he says, “with a virtually guaranteed year-on-year increase in return on equity.” “The next ten years in South Africa are likely to be very interesting,” says Scholle. “The first commercial-scale electricity storage solutions will come on-line, which will change the playing field in the South African power sector significantly. This will result in an uptake of solar power at an unprecedented scale – and most likely at a lower tariff than the utilities will be charging.”
With electricity costs ever on the rise, PV solutions becoming more cost-competitive, and growing consumer demand on producers in all industries to reduce their environmental impact, the future looks bright and sustainable for solar PV energy in South Africa.