State needs to ‘understand true power’ of solar energy

THERE is a lack of understanding of solar power and what it can provide in Africa.

This is according to Johan Cilliers, regional director of photovoltaic solar system provider First Solar.

Speaking at a media briefing in Rosebank on solar energy on Tuesday, he said government leaders needed to be made aware of the possibilities solar power presents.

However, Mr Cilliers said solar power was not the only solution to South Africa’s energy crisis, but could help alleviate it.

“Obviously there needs to be an integration of all our energy sources to provide the best possible solution. Solar photovoltaic (power) is already cost-competitive and it can go a long way in helping to stabilise the electricity grid,” he said.

Read more…

Webinar: Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel: The Coming Resurgence of the Solar Industry

Join this Lux Research webinar on 25th June.

The era of the feed-in tariff is coming to an end, and with it a forced transition for solar energy – from an investment vehicle to a mainstream electricity source. Luckily for manufacturers, there’s also an end in sight to the massive manufacturing oversupply that has plagued module pricing and crushed investor sentiment. However, the flux within the industry also provides a window of opportunity for innovators seeking a spot in the supply chain. With the installation market set to nearly double to 61 GW in 2018, solar stakeholders will have plenty of dollars at their disposal – should they recognize the changing face of the market and strategize accordingly.

This webinar will:

• Examine how to harness the increasingly diverse demand market
• Clarify the continued solar shakeout and shift of competitive power
• Identify technologies and strategies that offer the biggest competitive advantage for stakeholders

Register here…

University’s ‘Solar Flower’ to charge students’ cellphones


UNIVERSITY students in the Free State will soon be able to charge their cellphones and tablets by harnessing solar power, which allows smart devices to run for longer and costs nothing.

With power utility Eskom urging consumers to reduce electricity consumption, particularly in the winter months when reserve margins are low, the faculty of engineering and information technology at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in the Free State has come up with an innovative way to reduce electricity consumption on its campus.

The university recently unveiled a prototype of the Solar Flower, which will allow students to charge their electronic devices via solar-powered USB ports anywhere on campus. Continue reading

Greenpeace Africa launches 10 kWp rooftop solar system

Idele Esterhuizen | 29 May 2014 | Engineering News

Greenpeace Africa on Wednesday started up a new 10 kWp rooftop solar photovoltaic panel installation at its Johannesburg office, which the organisation’s climate and energy campaigner Ruth Mhlanga said proved the feasibility of renewable energy in South Africa.

The R123 000 installation incorporated 44 solar panels and a grid-tie inverter, which meant it could substitute electricity generated by State-owned Eskom when needed and could allow for excess electricity to be fed back into the grid. Continue reading

Independent power for grid possible by year-end

Business Day Live 29 May 2013.

ESKOM could see the first power from the inaugural round of the independent power producer procurement programme by year-end.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday launched the R240m RustMo 1 Solar Farm developed by black-owned energy group Momentous Energy.

The group is one of 18 preferred bidders in the first window of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. The bidders will generate 631MW of electricity from solar parks ranging in capacity from 5MW to 64MW…


Tender for Eskom’s big solar project expected later this year

Engineering News 27 May 2013.

The basic design work for Eskom’s 100 MW concentrating solar power (CSP) demonstration project, earmarked for development in the Northern Cape town of Upington, is nearing completion and the prequalification of potential contractors should begin within months.

Proposed is the development of a central-receiver CSP plant, where molten salt is used as a storage and heat-transfer medium. The so-called power tower will be surrounded by an array for heliostats, or mirrors, which continuously reflect sunlight on to the tower’s central receiver.

Tractebel Engineering has been appointed the owner’s engineer on what has been provisionally set down as a R9-billion project, with a more precise capital estimate to emerge only once a tender process has been concluded…

(Contributor’s note: R9 bn for 100MW is VERY steep, that is right at the top of NREL’s estimates in 2011, see Once again we appear to leaping in to do our own research instead of waiting for the technology to mature and buying off the shelf. I think Eskom loves these projects.)