Vodacom getting solar power roof

2012-05-30 07:27

Cape Town - Vodacom will be fitting its Century City office in Cape Town with the largest array of solar panels on a single building in Africa.

The solar array, which is expected to be finished in August, will see nearly 2 000 mono crystalline solar panels covering the 3 600m² roof of the building, the cellphone network said. During peak production the solar array is expected to provide up to 75% of all the power required by the building.

"The position of the Century City rooftop is perfect for generating a high yield of solar power throughout the year," said Suraya Hamdulay, executive head of corporate citizenship at Vodacom. 

The power produced will feed into the two main distribution boards, and a display panel installed in the reception area of the building will display instantaneous power yield, energy yield and carbon emission savings.

The total annual energy savings garnered by the project is expected to be around 830.1MWh  - the equivalent of charging more than 70 million cellphones.

The office currently uses 650kWp of power from the municipality and the photovoltaic array will supply 500 kilo-watt peak (kWp) at peak production to the building.

"Our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 31 March 2013 which will translate into an estimated 79 000 tons saving.

"We are continually on the lookout for new ways of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions," said Hamdulay.

  • Lauden Kirk - 2012-05-30 08:12

    With my

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-05-30 09:14

    They have created a see-through solar panel which can be used as windows. All buildings should be powered by solar.

      Chris Constantinou - 2013-05-30 22:17

      Where can one find this see-through solar paneling ?

  • Heinrich - 2012-05-30 09:49

    Supply and demand!!! Projects like these will drop solar panel prices. They are hellishly expensive. The other expensive parts will be the Inverters. Don't be mistaken this is a multi million Rand project that will only start paying for itself in around 10 years time. Else my roof will be full of solar panels....

      Tony Lapson - 2012-05-30 10:03

      You are entirely right, but that leaves me wondering why money hinders technological advancement and a greener future, just because of supply and demand.

      Heinrich - 2012-05-30 16:07

      Because money makes the world go round. You drive a petrol car and not an electrical car because the batteries and electrical is still just plain too expensive..... It is so expensive because people can survive on giving away stuff for free. They need to make money to buy food. And you need to sell stuff at a profit for that. You can charge less profit on 10000 units rather than 10 units to survive. So because of the profit per unit on 10 units we drive petrol cars and can't afford solar panels on our roofs.

      Heinrich - 2012-05-30 16:09

      corrections in previous post: "batteries and electrical cars" "people can't survive on giving away stuff for free."

  • comurray - 2012-05-30 11:50

    It is the same as fitting solar powered geysers, price of these fitted is bloody high and will take at least 10 years to feel any savings. In 10 years time the price for electricity will be so high that only the priviledged few will be able to aford it and by that time your solar geyser will have stopped working any.

  • spookhuis - 2012-05-31 07:35

    I got a quote the other day for my small holding to be totally off the grid, solar and wind power only.....R550 000....I had to laugh, would love to know how much this is costing Vodacom.

  • Andreas - 2012-06-05 14:04

    @ Heinrich and spookhuis - this system is grid tied, i.e. no battery backup. Here you can work with prices of around R60k for 2.5kW, (which is enough for a normal household by the way). A 2,5kW system produces around 4500kWh per year. At an electricity price of R1.20, this works out to around R5400 / year and thus a ROI (based on the current electricity price) of around 11 years. If you however take a standard 20 year PPA into consideration, and take the R60k over 20 years, your current electricity price from your PV system (1:1 without any escalations or interests) would be R0.66/kWh (compared to R1.20/kWh currently) and this doesn't mean that the PV system stops working at 20 years :-). As to the R550k spookhuis was quoted, well sometimes people try and smoke you. Some get smoked, others don't. If you take a 5kWp PV system with 10kW of battery inverter (with a 6kVA backup genset to limit the days of autonomy vs. bad weather) and 1000Ah of lead acid, look at around R300k. Good for a small holding! For independence? Calculate against that the cost of a NEW Eskom connection (transformers etc.) or the cost of diesel and maintenance ... PV will always win hands down as its fuel is free! You must calculate against the total cost of ownership and this, by the way, is also why nuclear will fail the "cheapest power" statement. PV can do for Africa what the steam engine and printing press did for Europe!

      eric.grossman.50552 - 2012-06-12 21:26

      Andreas. You know your stuff. What line of business are you in . My address. - renewable energy business in California USA

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