Businesses seek off-grid solutions as load shedding looms

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As the country grapples with a fresh spate of load shedding, some businesses are taking the adage 'never waste a crisis' to heart and offering business power generation and storage alternatives. 

The private sector is increasingly looking at ways to minimise operational consequences, according to Solar MD and Synergetics Sustainable Solutions. The companies say in a joint statement that the deployment of rooftop solar PV systems, now combined with battery storage, are two avenues many cash-strapped employers are considering.

Solar MD is a battery energy solutions provider based in Cape Town. Synergetics Sustainable Solutions is a consulting firm that helps companies become more efficient in their use of resources.

According to the statement, Solar MD currently produces over 36MWh lithium-ion batteries per annum and projects an increase to 60MWh pa in the short-term. Kaloyan Dimov, CEO of Solar MD, a local manufacturer of lithium-ion battery storage for residential, commercial and utility-scale purposes, agrees.

"Demand is increasing for our energy storage systems. Production facilities seek battery storage solutions to take some, or all of their activities off the grid. Others are looking for grid-connected battery systems that can help them bridge the gap during power outages," said Dimov.

Synergetics Sustainable Solutions director Teri Kruger said large users including manufacturing, mining and agri-processing businesses as well as entrepreneurs in various sectors were trying to find systems that would allow them to keep their business running and minimise losses.

"The demand for de-centralised energy solutions is growing fast and gained traction when stage 6 of load shedding hit South Africa last year," said Kruger.

Retail Capital group brand officer, Erin Louw, said while large companies have grown resilient to the impact of load shedding after a decade of grid pains, small and medium businesses remain particularly vulnerable to power instability.

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