25 April 2013 | ESI Africa
Africa’s largest electricity supplier and one of the world’s top seven utilities in terms of generation capacity, Eskom, has awarded an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 360 kWp solar photovoltaic system to be installed on the roof of its Megawatt Park head office in Johannesburg. The contract was awarded to the Romano group.
“This will push our installed capacity of rooftop PV projects to more than a megawatt, which is not too bad as South Africa’s PV industry is still in its infancy” Alexi Romano, Romano group CEO, says.
So far in 2013, Romano has commissioned four rooftop PV projects in South Africa: in Cape Town 300 kWp and 10 kWp, and in Johannesburg 35 kWp and 10 kWp.
Most of the Solar PV systems provided by Romano are grid-tied systems, meaning that they are connected to either the client side or the utility side of the on-site electrical sub-station. In the former case, the electricity generated is used on the site by the client. In the latter case the electricity generated is exported to the national or municipal electricity grid.
Alexi Romano is also the chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (Sapvia) rooftop PV sub-committee, whose purpose and aims are to create a sustainable rooftop PV industry that benefits all South Africans; promote an ethical, sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry; set standards for the industry; influence government and municipalities to support the industry; and finally to create awareness in the market of the benefits of own-use PV.
“South Africa is among the highest carbon polluters in the world and yet the country has one of the richest solar resources. Investing in proven solar PV technology is both beneficial to the environment and a great hedge against rapidly rising electricity tariffs. A solar PV system sized to a client’s daytime electricity load will typically achieve a payback of between four and six years, after which period the electricity generated by the system is free, and because Solar PV systems are designed to have a serviceable life of at least 25 years, this translates to a massive reduction in your future electricity costs.” Romano says.