Donauer Solartechnik Completes Photovoltaic Plants in South Africa

Directly following Intersolar Europe 2012, Donauer Solartechnik will commission a photovoltaic plant on the roof of the University of the Witwatersrand in the South African city of Johannesburg.

The plant will deliver an annual yield of around 2,800 kilowatt hours and is a part of a project to provide environmentally friendly electricity for two educational institutions on location.

In cooperation with a German project developer and a South African installation company, Donauer was able to provide both educational facilities with reliable and sustainable electricity. A first solar plant was furnished by Donauer for the Mafa Max Motloung Secondary School in Delmas, located 70 kilometres away. It was connected to the grid on 28 December 2011. Its expected annual yield is approximately 3,000 kilowatt hours, which are used for a combination of feed in and own consumption. Since its commissioning a few months ago, the plant has already generated so much energy that the electricity costs of the school could be reduced by 40 per cent.

Providing Both Electricity and Education

Furthermore, the photovoltaic plants should help the pupils and students sharpen their awareness of renewable energies by learning interactively. With the help of data loggers, PCs and laptops, the students will be able to take over monitoring the plant and evaluating the data.

The pupils in Delmas can also access their plant monitoring system and learn – hands-on – how to deal with the new technologies. Thanks to this practical and understandable example, they find out how solar energy can significantly contribute to providing their country with energy.

Showcase for Solar Energy

To date, coal-fired power plants have generated around 90 per cent of the energy South Africa consumes. Nonetheless, the present energy supply cannot serve the rapidly increasing demand due to the economic boom and progressing electrification. Again and again, electricity outages occur.

"Sustainable showcase projects in the solar sector are needed to demonstrate the enormous potential of solar energy in South Africa", says Benedikt Bhm, regional sales manager at Donauer. He summarises, "Important for the coal-mining region in Delmas is, moreover, that the young generation, above all, can see in photovoltaics an alternative to conventional sources of energy. For this, Donauer places great emphasis upon integrating local project partners, who are an important key to successfully implementing projects."

With a solar irradiation value of up to 2,500 kilowatt hours per square meter, the region on the Horn of Africa belongs to the sunniest areas on the earth. Currently, the South African government is primarily supporting large-scale solar power plants.

"The South African market is well suited for solar projects of various sizes due to the climatic conditions. With our partners on location, we will complete further projects this year", explains Bhm.

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