Solar power to tackle energy woes

2015-10-09 11:10
Doray Vallo of Msunduzi Electricity, Melanie Veness, CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, Simphiwe Mchunu, also from Msunduzi Electricity, and Leo Quayle, president of the PCB.

Doray Vallo of Msunduzi Electricity, Melanie Veness, CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, Simphiwe Mchunu, also from Msunduzi Electricity, and Leo Quayle, president of the PCB. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg’s hopes of becoming more energy-efficient are taking form. 

This after a recommendation was passed at the Msunduzi executive committee meeting on Thursday to apply for funding for solar-powered street lighting and geysers for low-income earners.

The city will apply to the Department of Energy to allow Afri Vision Consortium to provide the solar-powered geysers and street lights.

This will be of no cost to the municipality or its users.

The project would see a joint venture between Afri Vision, Khanyisa Africa Consulting Engineers and NCO Electrical.

“The joint venture was established to bring together their individual experience and expertise in the electrical and water engineering environment,’ read the report to the executive committee.

The executive committee believes that while the city is struggling with ageing infrastructure, this programme will offload the demand from the battling electricity network. Solar geysers will be installed in low-cost housing units at no cost to the residents.

City manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the project will also create jobs for local communities. “The project will sustain itself for more than five years while the municipality is concentrating on the rehabilitation of ageing infrastructure,” said Nkosi.

Last month the city said they were looking at using gas as an alternative energy source should the municipal study prove viable. Nkosi said the country had faced its worst power outages in seven years and the move toward gas in Msunduzi would represent a step forward, not just for the city, but for the country. The city would consider two types of gas as an alternative energy source — liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas.

Hulamin, the aluminium products company and one of the city’s biggest employers, is already SA’s single biggest user of gas and is one of a number of businesses that rely on gas in the region. Msunduzi businesses have also come on board to help the city’s energy efficiency efforts. Last week nearly 800 Pietermaritzburg businesses voluntarily gave up at least 10% of their power usage as part of a trial run to beat the “catastrophic” effects of load shedding. Through the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, the businesses participated in a pilot drill for three hours to see just how much energy can be saved collectively without the need to shut down production

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  solar  |  electricity

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