The C&I solar sector is really starting to take off now in South Africa. More companies are installing solar at their factories, offices, mines, and other facilities. We have covered quite a few of them here on CleanTechnica. Some examples of these include the 4.8 MW Mall of Africa PV Plant, Waterfall, Gauteng, South Africa, the 13.5 MW array at Ford’s Factory in Pretoria, the Shoprite Group’s solar program for its 2,900 retail stores and distribution centers, Growthpoint properties’ solar rollout, and recently, Pan African Resources’ 9.9 MW solar plant at one of its mines.
There is some more good news, as Bosch’s Plant in Brits, in the North West province of South Africa, recently installed a photovoltaic solar system. A water harvesting system was also installed as Bosch moves to reduce its environmental footprint in South Africa. The company’s statement said:
“The benefits of PV system include safeguarding uptime during production, cost saving mechanism for the plant and overall reduction of carbon emissions of the plant by a further 1,099 tons of carbon dioxide. 1,110 megawatt hours of electricity annually will be generated through the installation of 1,464 solar panels, covering 3,234 square meters.
“In addition, the manufacturing facility installed 14 water reservoir tanks, each with the capacity to hold over 10,000 litres of water. This will equate to the plant relying less on borehole water currently used by the facility. The rainwater will be harvested via an inlet filter through the gutters, ensuring filtration of unwanted debris. The tanks will be connected to the already existing irrigation system and the water levels will also be monitored in this manner.”
Bosch has had a notable presence throughout the African continent since 1906, with the Brits production plant in South Africa — established in 1976 — being one of the few plants in the Bosch world producing for several automotive product areas. Parts such as alternators, starter motors, wiper systems, electronic control units, and calipers are all produced at a world class level by the production facility.
South Africa’s grid is mostly powered by coal. It’s really good to see that the distributed solar industry is growing as consumers in the C&I sector move to complement the electricity they get from the grid with clean renewable onsite solar.
South Africa is currently facing a critical shortage of electricity generation capacity, resulting in the national utility company Eskom regularly implementing electricity rationing load-shedding programs. This weekend, Eskom reported that it had 16,579 MW of capacity unavailable due to breakdowns, and 7,210MW on planned maintenance. This means that 23,807 MW out of 49,000 MW is not available. Eskom has had to implement Stage 5 load-shedding this weekend. Eskom’s load-shedding program is structured in stages, where Eskom sheds a certain quantum of load from the grid to stabilize the grid. So, depending on the severity of the crisis, load-shedding is implemented in stages from Stage 1 to Stage 8, where Stage 1 sheds 1000 MW of load from the grid and in a Stage 8 scenario, Eskom takes out 8,000 MW of load from the grid. Load-shedding is implemented over 2-hour or 4-hour blocks on a rotational basis depending on the severity of the crises. Stage 8, however, means most consumers will experience a blackout for about 12 hours. South Africa needs a whole lot of new generation capacity ASAP.
Images courtesy of Bosch.
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