Solar tracker first for Bay

2015-10-21 06:00
Chris Gertsch (left) and Colin Muller look at how the movement of the solar energy panels in the background can be controlled via cellphone.
deon ferreira

: Chris Gertsch (left) and Colin Muller look at how the movement of the solar energy panels in the background can be controlled via cellphone. photo: deon ferreira

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A PORT Elizabeth company has now established itself among the leaders of Africa’s solar energy industry.

PiA Solar, which has been manufacturing and installing photovoltaic solar panels since 2013, introduced their new sun tracker technology which turn panels automatically to follow the sun’s movement.

While similar technology is already being manufactured in Europe and America, it is the first time that it is created in Africa, Colin Muller, PiA’s co-founder, said.

“The Eastern Cape is a wonderful incubator for this technology,” said Muller. “People are working harder for less money here, and they do not know the word ‘no’.

“We are growing a market here that can spread to the rest of the world - and we would be proud to reach the world from this province.”

The possibility of the new technology’s success in the export market is also enhanced by their ISO 9001 certification, which PiA received from the international organisation BMTRADA last week.

“This is definitely a boost regarding exports. Most international companies in the solar energy industry will not work with suppliers until they have ISO certification.

“Now we are the first South African company in our industry to succeed in this. This means that we will eventually be able to compete against international companies.”

The certification will open many doors for the company, said Dr Mark Bodley of BMTRADA. “It sends an instant message to their customers that the company is reliable and succeeds by constantly improving its services,” Bodley said.

The certification process entails a wide evaluation of the company.

“We look more to their customers’ satisfaction, the improvements in their technology and the standard of their products regarding quality.”

PiA has already proven its capabilities with a 90MW project in De Aar and an 86MW solar energy farm in Prieska, but with the certification it will be able to grow even further, said Muller.

“We will soon reach the one million mark of solar panels we installed. We want our product to be on every roof in South Africa - and with this innovative technology that goal is within our reach,” he added.

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