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renewable energy Archives - EP Home Solutions

SACS Invests In Renewable Energy System

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South Africa College High School (SACS) in Cape Town has made a commitment to clean energy by installing a solar system at its Rosedale Boarding House. The solar system was installed by Energy Partners Home Solutions, part of the PSG group of companies.

Barry van Selm, Deputy Headmaster at SACS explains that installing a solar system at the school was an easy choice. “SACS has become very aware of its carbon footprint, so a renewable energy option was important to us. In the past five years we have also seen huge increases in electricity tariffs so we needed to find a sustainable way of bringing those costs down.”

According to Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, schools like SACS, with boarding houses and plenty of activity over weekends and holidays, are the perfect place to install solar systems as these types of properties consume most of their energy during the day’s peak solar hours, and can therefore maximise the financial benefits of a renewable energy solution.

He says that the Energy Partners team achieved some interesting results while still working within the parameters that were set by SACS as well as regulatory requirements.

Van der Westhuizen explains that the Energy Partners’ team started off with an in-depth analysis into the requirements of the boarding house. “This involved taking the generation capacity that regulations would permit the team to install, into consideration.”

“According to our findings, we could install a 25 kilowatt inverter at the boarding house, which is the maximum size allowed under NRS regulations for the specific infrastructure of the site. With the actual solar array we had a bit more leeway, so we installed 30.88kWp of multicrystalline solar panels.”

This enables the system to produce at the converter’s maximum level for as long as possible during peak hours and also produce excess power that the school will be able to possibly sell back to the City of Cape Town, says van der Westhuizen.

Van Selm says that as part of the system, the school received a tracking tool that allows them to monitor the system in real time. “Being able to track the system’s energy production is very interesting and allows us to see the results. Our first electrical bill has not arrived yet, but based on what we have seen from the monitoring tool, our use of electricity from the grid has been cut by about one third which amounts to a saving of around R75 000 at the current electricity tariffs.”

“We are very excited about the results we have seen so far and looking forward to reducing our carbon footprint and electricity bills even further in the near future,” Van Selm concludes.

Zuma commits SA to renewable energy

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President Jacob Zuma committed to South Africa’s continued investment in renewable energy as part of its overall energy mix.

Eskom has for months refused to issue final budget quotes to preferred bidders in Round 4 and the Round 4 extension of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

It has caused widespread concern in the renewable energy sector, which had praised South Africa for years.

There are 26 preferred bidders across a range of technologies, none of which has reached financial close due to Eskom’s refusal to sign further power purchase agreements, South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec) chairperson Brenda Martin explained.

“These projects represent a combined value of R50bn in investment into the country that has been put on hold, which is ludicrous when considering our current economic climate,” she said.

However, Zuma said planned investments in renewable energy will go ahead.

“Work is continuing to ensure energy security. Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix, which also includes electricity generation from gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and coal,” he said.

“Government is committed to the overall Independent Power Producers Programme and we are expanding the programme to other sources of energy including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy.

“Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds.”

Zuma’s utterance comes as the SA Renewable Energy Technology Centre at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology warned this week that the country’s fledgling wind turbine service technician training programme will be “skilling its graduates for unemployment” if construction on the next round of state-commissioned wind farms doesn’t begin within the forthcoming year.

Acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko told Fin24 this year that renewable energy should be developed at a scale and pace the utility and country can afford – a line first used by Zuma in 2016 to explain the planned nuclear new build plan.

 

Sarec praises Zuma

Martin said on Thursday evening that Sarec is “very pleased to note the presidency’s clear support for the country’s Renewable Energy Procurement Programme (REI4P)”.

“This globally recognised programme was the initiative of government, and it is fitting that the policy-maker’s vision can continue to be realised.

“Industry appreciates the expressed support that key ministers have lent to the REI4P during the year-long impasse with Eskom.

“Some of the serious economic effects of the recent pause in South Africa’s renewable power procurement programme such as factory closures and job losses have caused serious hardship for this fledgling industry. We trust that there will now be rapid movement to resolve the impasse in line with the President’s directive,” said Martin.

“This president’s leadership can ensure that now much-needed direct and indirect investment and job creation is unlocked. More than R57bn investment will flow in the short-term and jobs will be created once outstanding power purchase agreements are signed.

“By 2014, investment into renewables in South Africa accounted for 84% of all foreign direct investment; a total sum of just under R200bn.

“Since 2016, while approximately R57bn worth of further renewable power investment had been secured under the programme in 2015, this sum has not entered the economy. In addition, up to 15 000 jobs associated with the power procured in 2015, are currently not being realised.

She said that through 6 bid windows the REI4P secured the following successes:

  • 102 projects have been procured; investments of R 194.1bn (of which R53.4bn from foreign investors)
  • 64 projects have signed contracts representing 4 006 MW capacity of which 3051 MW was online (including early operation) as at 17 January 2017
  • Substantial jobs for South African citizens have been created (of which more than 47% are for youth)
  • Socio-economic development initiatives have been initiated in local communities
  • A green-industry has started to develop to the point that some manufacturers have become exporters of renewable energy plant components
  • Technicians are being trained at global standard ensuring that young graduates can service both the domestic and international market.

Read the original article on Fin24 by clicking here.

Businesses urged to find alternative energy sources

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On February 2, 2017, ENCA released a video featuring Alan Matthews, Head of Energy Partners Home Solutions. Matthews discusses why business owners will have to find alternative energy sources.

Click here to view original video on ENCA.

SMEs Increased Electricity Tariffs Looming

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Energy Partners spoke to HR Future about SMEs’ increased electricity electricity tariffs. The article features Mila Loubser (Head of Engineering Intelligence) and Cala van der Westhuizen (Spokesperson at Energy Partners.)
South Africa is still likely to see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next few years, making it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy.

The large investments Eskom is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future.

Since 2008 the average electricity tariffs in South Africa have increased by around 300%. According to our research, the next eight years will likely see a year-on-year tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%. In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar and other renewable energy solutions back from SARS. Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

There are a number of benefits to installing solar energy solutions in small businesses, all of which contribute to reducing operating costs and downtime in the event of power outages.

A full solar solution can reduce the average SME’s electricity consumption by as much as 30%.

Reliability of energy supply is vital for SMEs. With this in mind, it is important for business owners to do a proper cost-benefit analysis to ensure that they are making the correct decisions, implementing the right energy solutions and using the optimal financing vehicle to reduce their annual energy spend.


Read the full article here.

Western Cape Drought: The Silver Lining On Cloudless Skies

By | Energy Partners Home Solutions Stories | No Comments

Good news despite level 3b water restrictions!

Solar energy users are benefitting from a hot, dry summer.

On 1 February 2017, residents of the Western Cape must adhere to new level 3b water restrictions. The city’s water restrictions are now even tighter and the scorching weather is burning a hole through residents’ pockets.

Despite the Western Cape feeling the heat of stringent water restrictions and rising water tariffs, there’s one group of residents for whom the hot, dry weather is a reason to smile. Home and business owners who are using solar PV systems have been saving big on electricity! This is thanks to a surge in solar production.

Solar production during December 2016 exceeded expectations by as much as 10% in the Western Cape.

This is due to the fact that there were 29 virtually cloud-free days over much of the city. Energy Partners Home Solutions has over 40 solar home energy systems installed in and around Cape Town, all of which produced between 7% and 11% more energy than what was expected for the month of December. Take into account the fact that a well-designed home solar energy solution can cut a household’s electricity bill by as much as 70% on average. It’s clear that the increase in solar production equated to big savings in home and small businesses.

This means that those who’ve been smart enough to invest in solar enjoyed a few extra rands in their pockets this season and that, at least for some, there’s been a silver lining to the mostly cloudless skies.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On December 30, 2017, Fin24 released an article featuring Mila Loubser, our head of Engineering Intelligence, and Cala van der Westhuizen, our Home Solutions marketing manager. The article discusses why small businesses should consider renewable energy.

Massive above-inflation tariff increases

The next eight years will likely see an above-inflation year-on-year electricity tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%.

The large investments Eskom is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future. This will make it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy.

Since 2008 the average tariff increase in South Africa has been around 300%.

Possible carbon tax to be introduced

In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

This trend will have the largest impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As we have seen in previous years, energy tariff hikes and other power related issues such as load shedding, had massive impacts on the operating costs and the already low profit margins of SMEs. There are, however, opportunities for smaller companies to reduce the impact of power costs and supply on their business.

SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

Renewable = Tax exemptions

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar and other renewable energy solutions back from SARS. Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy and also consider financing options from certain service providers. There are a number of benefits to installing solar energy solutions in small businesses. All of these benefits contribute to reducing operating costs and downtime in the event of power outages.


 

 

Read the full article here.

Electricity Fun Facts: How much energy would it take to power yourself?

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

When looking at the top six power-hungry home appliances in this article, it’s difficult to really understand the kWh unit.

To help understand how much these top 6 offenders actually consume, we’ve compared it to the human body.

So, how hard would you have to work to literally power your home yourself?

1. Geyser

Your geyser accounts for a fat 50% of your electricity bill. 9.25 kWh per hour feeds your geyser.

Cycling vigorously for 3 hours powers your geyser for 1 hour

2. Tumble Dryer

This appliance consumes a massive 3kWh per hour.

Doing laundry for 4 years powers your tumble dryer for 1 hour

3. Oven

Using your oven for an hour eats about 2.3kWh.

Chopping wood for 4 hours powers your oven for 1 hour

4. Air Conditioner

When using your aircon, bear in mind that it costs around 1.8kWh.

Taking a brisk walk around the earth powers your aircon for 1 hour

5. Swimming Pool Pump

Cleaning your pool accounts for 1.5kWh usage per hour.

Swimming 103 olympic pool laps powers your pool pump for 1 hour

6. Portable Heater

Winter is coming! To keep yourself warm with your portable heater, you’ll have to provide it with 1.5kWh every hour.

Shivering for 3 hours and 10 mins powers your portable heater for 1 hour

The next time you flip a switch, think about how much physical energy needs to be exerted to power the heaviest energy consumers in your home. Being more conscious about your energy usage is the easiest way to reduce your electricity bill. Power Yourself!


 

There are a combination of solutions available to power yourself through renewable energy. To discuss these with one of our energy consultants, get in touch! We would love to provide you with a custom cost and energy saving proposal – without a single obligation attached.

(Calculations were all made based on averages.)

Six of the most power-hungry home appliances

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Powering your home is as simple as flicking a switch. It requires little to no effort from you to fill the tub with warm water, reheat a meal in the microwave or brew a steaming cup of coffee. But have you thought about how much energy some of the everyday appliances in your home are using?

We’ve identified the biggest villains in your home below:

(If kWh’s make no sense to you: have a look at this follow-up article on how much energy you need to burn to power these appliances listed below.)

1. Geyser

A geyser accounts for a fat 50% of the electricity bill in many households. It consumes about 9.25 kWh, which works out to 300 kW a month!

However, there are ways to ensure your geyser doesn’t chew up a huge chunk of your monthly budget. A solar water geyser or heat pumps are much leaner on energy, which makes them great alternatives to standard geysers. You could also try and use less warm water whenever you can, for example, by taking shorter showers. This means you’ll also be doing your bit for water conservation ?  .

2. Tumble Dryer

While it’s a lifesaver on rainy laundry days, your tumble dryer devours a whopping 3 kWh.

To save on electricity, it’s best to view your tumble dryer as something you should only indulge in on occasion. Only use it when you really have to and turn to the sun to curb its energy appetite: Only do laundry on sunny days or lighten the load with an efficient home solar energy solution.

3. Oven

On average, your oven uses about 2.3 kWh. 

Luckily, in sunny South Africa, we have been born and bred to enjoy cooking meals on fires. You now have an excuse to cook outside more often!

4. Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner works very hard to keep you cool, consuming around 1.8 kWh.

In summer, you should try to acclimatise yourself by using the aircon as little as possible. Studies also show that aircons can make you sick – don’t catch sick building syndrome!

5. Swimming Pool Pump

It takes a lot of time and energy to keep a pool crystal-clear. Take your pool pump: It consumes about 1.5 kWh.

Covering your swimming pool is not only a great way to save water, but it’ll help keep your pool clean and take some of the pressure off your pump.

6. Portable Heater

In winter, temperature control proves to be equally costly, with standard portable heaters consuming as much as 1.5 kWh. 

Snuggle up with a blanket instead. Cups of hot chocolate will also assist in building up a fat reserve to get you through the coldest nights!

Another all-round great electricity-saving alternative is to install a state-of-the-art home solar energy solution. That could amount to a saving of up to 70% on your monthly electricity bill.

Want to know how hard you’d have to work to power each of the appliances above? Read our follow up article!

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SABC Digital News – Saving electricity during the festive season

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On December 21, 2016, Alan Matthews (head of Energy Partners Home Solutions) discussed how holiday makers can save money on their electricity bills by switching off all appliances when leaving the house. Listen in on the interview to learn energy saving ideas which can be implemented throughout the entire year. We hope to make consumers more aware of their day-to-day energy consumption and give you more insight on energy saving.

Do not just change your mind-set over festive seasons but also for the future, as South Africans should brace themselves for a possible inflation increase in electricity tariffs over the next three years.

Energy Forecast Online – Going 50% off-grid is better than 100%

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Our marketing manager, Cala van der Westhuizen, spoke to Energy Forecast Online on December 5th, 2016. Van der Westhuizen spoke about alternative energy solutions and how these alternatives are becoming increasingly affordable, however, powering a home completely from renewable sources is still prohibitively expensive. To read the full article, read here.

South Africa is likely to see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next eight years, with some conservative estimates placing the rise in tariffs at between 6% and 8% year-on-year.

This figure could be as high as 13% if carbon taxes are imposed, and even higher should the 300% increase over the past three years be any indication.

This news is driving some consumers to seriously consider taking their homes completely off-grid.

Van der Westhuizen notes however that smaller scale solutions could provide significantly more benefits than a fully off-grid option.

Achieving the optimal 60% to 70% electricity independence, according to Van der Westhuizen, starts with replacing some of the home’s heaviest electricity users with more efficient solutions.

“When it comes to lighting, LEDs are great replacements for traditional downlights, as they save far more electricity in the long run. Geysers account for as much as half of the electricity bill in many households, with large unnecessary energy wastage. This can be mitigated by a highly efficient heat pump or, in certain cases, solar geysers. Even these simple, affordable solutions can make a big difference,” he says.

Van der Westhuizen states that the next step is to install solar PV panels and a battery or inverter system. He notes that these are extremely effective in generating and storing energy.

“Energy Partners Home Solutions’ integrated home energy systems is a full solution, designed to reduce a home’s monthly electricity spend by around 70%. With a carefully planned and designed solution, the cost of the system’s installation could easily be recovered in five years,” he adds.


 

If you are interested in saving energy, please contact us.