May 2017

Intersolar Europe

Reflections from Intersolar, day 1

SOLA CEO, Dom Wills and CTO, Ian Burger, are currently in Munich for Intersolar Europe – the world’s largest gathering of solar professionals. Below are some reflections from the first day of the conference. Follow updates on Twitter.


Intersolar Europe 1

2016 was a record year for solar energy

Reduced costs and better technology paints a sunny picture for solar

Overall, 2016 was a record year for solar. This is due to not only increased uptake, but also reduced cost of materials. Overall, the levelised cost of energy – or, what solar energy costs comparative to other sources such as coal and wind –  has come down by 58% in the past 7 years, and storage by 40% in the past 4 years. Both of these factors are predicted to either reduce at the same rate or even an increased rate. This paints a positive picture for the future of solar and its affordability.Technical advances in the actual making of solar panels – such as integrating Silver deposits in silicon wafers that solar panels are made of – is expected to increase the efficiency of solar cells by 0.24%, perhaps even increasing to 0.35% over the next year. These technical aspects, combined with reducing costs of storage, could mean that solar far outstrips its energy competitors in coming years.

Operations and Maintenance key to solar’s effectiveness

Operations and Maintenance of solar was also a key part of the discussion, with the costs of this still needing to be reduced significantly. As more plants are built, there is a need to maintain them; however, costs of maintenance are still relatively high. Soiling losses – or dirt on solar panels that reduces their generating capacity – can be as high as 20%, particularly in dry or dusty areas. This makes the importance of maintaining solar systems even more poignant. Automation, digitization and standardisation will be key components to achieving costs reductions for operation and maintenance.

The development of specific standards for solar, such as international standard DIN77055-1, are currently being compiled and will look to be published in early 2018. Standards such as these focus on record keeping and standardising procedures, which will likely be beneficial for developing the relevant software portals for PV plants in the future.

In conclusion

Overall, the first day of Intersolar Europe was one packed to the brim with positive stories of solar, and how both costs and technology are advancing in the technology’s favour. From the perspective of technical leaders in the field, the future really does look bright.

Follow SOLA CEO, Dom Wills, for updates.

Visit the Intersolar Europe Website.

Contact us to install your own solar system.

Intersolar Europe

The plenary hall was packed for day one of Intersolar Europe

SOLA Future Energy helps to green Century City Conference Centre

This week, SOLA Future Energy was pleased to assist the Century City Conference Centre in its journey toward sustainability by completing a solar energy system on the centre’s roof. The complete system consists of over 800 photovoltaic panels that will generate electricity directly from the sun for the conference centre.  The newly-built facility, owned by Rabie Property Group, currently uses over 2M kWh electricity annually.

SOLA Future Energy installed the 260 kW system over 6 weeks. Split over two roofs, the combined system will produce around 400 000 kWh of electricity annually, which is expected to cut the centre’s carbon emissions by 17% per annum.

Gary Koetser, joint CEO of CCCC, comments, “Sustainability is fast becoming a non-negotiable in the private sector, with corporates across the board making a concerted effort to reduce negative effects on the environment. From the outset, we have strived tominimalize the impact of our operationson the environment and have implemented a number of policies and procedures to this end. This includes water management, waste management & recycling, sustainable food and energy saving.

“Examples like CCCC show that small-scale, decentralised energy usage is an important, simple step that companies can take toward securing their own affordable energy supply in the future,” said Dom Wills, CEO of SOLA Future Energy. Will’s voice joined others in a session discussing the cost-effectiveness of renewable technologies at African Utility Week.

Glyn Taylor, joint CEO of CCCC reiterates the centre’s position on sustainable practices, “We are really proud that our system not only makes financial sense, but further exemplifies our commitment to providing a sustainable conference venue by actively cutting down on our own carbon emissions.”

Projects such as this demonstrate a simple step that large buildings can take toward securing their own energy supply in the future whilst cutting their own carbon emissions.

SOLA Future Energy installs 550 kW solar system in Gardens

SOLA Future Energy recently completed a rooftop solar PV installation for Wembley Square,an office complex and lifestyle centre in Gardens, Cape Town. The centre, owned by Redefine Commercial property group is home to several offices, residential apartments, shops and restaurants, and currently uses around 7M kWh electricity per annum.

The rooftop solar system, designed and constructed by SOLA, was completed over 6 weeks, and is expected to supply 550 kW direct current (DC) to the building. The system is expected to produce over 850 000 kWh energy per annum for over 20 years, resulting in a 12% reduction of the building’s carbon footprint per annum. In addition, the solar system will save around R970 000 per annum in electricity costs.

780 kW solar system at Soneike Mall, Kuils River

SOLA future energy recently completed a 780 kW solar rooftop installation atSoneike Mall,in Kuils River. The shopping centre, which contains a range of retail shops, is owned by IPIC Properties.

The property currently uses around 5,4m kWh of electricity per annum. With the new solar system, it is expected that roughly 1,2m kWh will be generated through the sun’s power, saving the complex over R1,7m per year in energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint by 22% per annum.

The project at Soneike is one of several retail clients that SOLA has installed with rooftop solar over the past year. Property owners are opting in for solar systems based on their efficiency and the energy cost savings that they promise. All of SOLA’s installed systems are guaranteed for 20 years, and generally take 4 – 6 years to pay off. For Soneike, this means that they’ll have 14 years of free electricity and enjoy the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint and reduced
tariff costs.