In a move to capture the solar energy market while it is still at its infancy in South Africa, Robert Bosch SA has installed a sample system located at the group’s offices in Midrand.
Different players are positioning themselves to capture the market with clear signs that solar energy is set to become a big thing in South Africa which is looking to diversify its power base. South Africa is looking to diversify from almost 100% reliance on environmentally damaging fossil fuel into renewable energy.
Bosch Solar Energy division installed a 2.5 kwh mono crystalline and 2.5 kwh thin film system at the Midrand premises. The group said the system will in future be extended with a further 2,5 kwh poly crystalline system. “The power produced by the system is fed into and used by the office blocks on site,” says Andreas Wagner, head of Bosch South Africa’s solar division.
The group said the ground based installation is used to showcase what the future PV plants in the IPP/ Rebate program will look like. The system produces around 14000 kwh/year. If calculated on standard 20 year power producing period, the solar plant currently produce power for less R/ kwh than Eskom current rates.
“With this installation we are showing on a small scale what solar energy can do for South Africa” Steffen Hoffmann, Managing Director of Robert Bosch Pty Ltd, said.
Due to the modularity of the system, it can cover the needs of residential users trying to get away from the monthly bills and commercial users looking for a greener alternative, which is also cost effective. The system can be set up at ground level or mounted on a roof.
These systems are currently installed across Africa in supermarkets, at distribution centers, daycare centres and are also used with great success at government and municipality levels.
To date, the growing interest throughout Africa indicates that this system is also being used at game lodges, retreats and telecommunication facilities located in remote areas. Notably, other companies in need of solar powered UPS systems that don’t run flat when the grid is down for longer than expected are also using this system.
‘‘The list of users of this system is endless. For example, companies and residential developments that want to expand and are not getting more power from the grid, mines that run off diesel gensets and want to cut their fuel bill. We anticipate growing interest of solar power from both commercial and residential users in years to come, ” added Wagner.
Bosch Solar Energy in South Africa is ready to support this brand of sustainable electricity locally and throughout Africa and the company is geared up with local stock holding and technical expertise to accommodate the demand. In future Bosch plans to move to local production, if the Africa demand makes it economically viable.