Breather for Eskom

2012-08-16 13:48

Johannesburg – In a power breakthrough, Solea Renewables has signed a turnkey deal with renewable energy company  Cronimet Energy SA to deliver the first-ever off-grid utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) system in southern Africa to a chrome mine in Limpopo.

The 1 megawatt plant will produce approximately 1.8 Gigawatt hours of electricity per year and is expected to reduce the mine’s daytime diesel dependency for the next 20 to 30 years.

The project is in line with national plans to increase power supplies from independent producers.

It also dovetails with South Africa’s stated objective to increase the percentage of renewable energy among the countries total power mix.

The fully integrated turnkey PV system designed, engineered and constructed by Solea Renewables, will convert the sun’s irradiation into alternating current electricity by using SMA central inverters and 4 170 high efficiency 240 watt polycrystalline PV panels supplied by Jinko Solar.  

Vusi Mhlanzi, director of Solea Renewables, said: “While the global demand for South African coal, platinum, palladium and chromium increases, mines and other industrial consumers face power supply constraints due to capacity challenges at Eskom.

“The turnkey delivery of our PV plants will not only benefit end-users, but it will help reduce the ever present and increasing energy demand Eskom faces.”

The photovoltaic plant will be constructed on Cronimet Energy SA’s site in Thabazimbi, Limpopo. Ground breaking took place on Thursday. Construction is under way and expected to be completed by late October.

  • michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 14:04

    4170 PV panels.... wouldnt it be far better to use just one, 1 MW wind turbine? Wind turbines have always been cheaper than PV panels. Does anyone have a fully off grid solar / wind setup and what did it cost you?

      jacques.pienaar.750 - 2012-08-16 14:27

      I work at an alternative energy company based in the southern cape. We install lots of off-grid systems without wind turbines. The cost of panels have come down so much in the past few years that wind is just too expensive. They are going to install a grid-tied system which does not need batteries and in turn makes the system even cheaper. When the bilk of the power is used during the daytime hours this proposed system works great. The only problem is, for you to install it on your normal house, you need approval from the municipality/eskom (which ever is your service provider), and that is the hard part. As well as some technical problems (On the service provider's side) with feeding into the grid.

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-16 14:55

      Think it's the consistency on solar Vs Wind.....

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 16:31

      yeah but solar is just so expensive, dont get me wrong its great, but... for a house to be off grid and use a peak of say 20kw its gona cost around R800 000... Thats just not realistic, unless my figures are wrong. Why cant a South African company produce everything so we dont have to import everything from XYZ, surely then it would be 50% cheaper at least?

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 17:11

      which idiot puts a thumb down? seriously WTF?

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 17:40

      thought so, if you havent got any balls to reply or have a constructive conversation then go play with your toys in you room like a good little boy

      balanced.truths - 2012-08-17 08:13

      Jinko Solar hey, another Chinese producer, with factories in Shangrao (Jiangxi) and Haining (Zhejiang), of almost certainly dubious quality, and they have also stolen SolarWorld Germany’s linear guarantee. Well, at least SolarWorld has proven their claims with an eight (8) year old 210Wp panel that is still offering 212.2Wp, I would love to see Jinko do the same, especially since they are present in the latest independent Photon test result. I for one will be watching.

  • marc.rule - 2012-08-16 14:05

    this is all good to see that they are going to use renewable energy at last BUT will this bring the price down for every one in SA??????????

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-08-16 14:48

    not sure why the words "solar power" are not used once in this article. what we need is more decentralised power provision. The idea that power must come from centralised sources is obsolete. in fact every household can add to the grid, rather than subtract from it.

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-08-16 20:32

    About time too - this is Africa - sunshine for free!

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