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Solar Water Heating & Enviromental News in South Africa

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Air Products, Jeka highlight benefits of solar rooftop installations

A solar photovoltaic roof-mounted power plant system installed at industrial and specialty chemicals supplier Air Products’ Kempton Park facility generates sufficient energy to meet between 60% and 70% of the facility’s day-time requirements, Air Products GM Maropeng Bahula says. The plant, installed by black-owned Jeka Energy, can also be expanded into a hybrid system in the future to store energy to cater for the facility’s night-time energy requirements.

South Africa positioning itself within platinum-rich hydrogen economy

Nurturing new forms of economic activity brought about by the green economy was important, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic advisor Trudi Makhaya emphasised on Wednesday. Speaking at the fuel cell conference organised by Nedbank CIB Market Research, Makhaya said a point of rupture had been reached that required a new model of economic growth to be thought out.

SA university research could lead to glass solar power breakthrough

Academics from South Africa's University of the Free State (UFS), Professor Hendrik Swart and Lucas Erasmus, are doing joint research with Ghent University in Bel­gium towards developing a new type of window glass which would in effect be a transparent solar panel. The researchers have created a working model which proves the viability of the process and now needs to be refined, made more efficient and brought to the market, hopefully within a decade.

Fuel cell developments poised to transform PGM, manufacturing sectors

Global developments in the fuel cell sector, which have begun to move at a far faster pace than expected after decades of build-up, are poised to transform South Africa’s platinum group metals and manufacturing sectors, a well-attended fuel cell conference heard on Wednesday. Speakers at the Nedbank CIB Market Research conference heard global speakers repeat that some of the biggest companies in the world were now inextricably linked to the rapid advance of the fuel-cell-linked hydrogen economy as the main contributor to world demand for climate change mitigation.

‘Monetisation’ of risks will be key to transitioning from climate awareness to resilience

The City of Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ water crisis of 2018, as well as the deadly Cyclone Idai, which ravaged parts of Mozambique and Malawi in March, has increased awareness about the need to begin investing in climate-resilient infrastructure. To transition from awareness to implementation, however, requires a “monetisation” of the climate risks, Mott MacDonald global head of climate resilience services Ian Allison argues.

Fuel cell electric vehicles set to make strong entry – visiting experts

There is simply no doubt that fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which use platinum group metal catalysts, will make a very strong global entry in the next decade, global experts said on Monday. Speaking to Mining Weekly Online on the eve of Nedbank’s FCEV conference in Cape Town, Professor Dr Ferdinand Panik, a professor of alternative vehicle concepts at the University of Applied Sciences, Esslingen, was emphatic about FCEVs having passed the point of technology development and entering the mass commercial manufacturing stage. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

CSIR doubles down on solar PV amid energy-autonomous campus success

The Pretoria-based headquarters of research organisation the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has almost doubled its commissioning of solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity because of its rooftop-mounted fixed-axis solar PV plant exceeding initial performance expectations.

Marubeni seeks sites and partners as it gears up for next renewables bid window

Japanese multinational Marubeni has issued an expression of interest (EoI) notice calling on entities with ‘bid ready’ wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) project sites in South Africa to approach it with the view to potentially jointly submitting the project as part of any future renewables auction that could be launched by government. Marubeni has a growing renewables footprint globally, but has not yet participated in South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), under which more than 6 000 MW of renewable-energy capacity have been procured from over 90 projects.

‘Structural disconnect’ to blame for South Africa’s de-industrialisation

The “hollowing out” of South Africa’s manufacturing sector has occurred as a result of the country’s premature de-industrialisation, professional services firm Deloitte emerging markets and Africa MD Dr Martyn Davies tells Engineering News Online. Expanding on the phenomenon, he says that South Africa has suffered from continuing pressures as a result of de-industrialisation. He believes the country’s premature de-industrialisation talks to the “structural disconnect” at the level of the political economy, which is preventing the country from improving its competitiveness and affordability.

ResponsAbility teams up with Southern African hydropower project developer

A responsAbility-managed energy holding company has acquired a 26% interest in Renewable Energy Holdings (REH), the owner and operator of run-of-river hydropower projects in Southern Africa.

Valuation methods under microscope as secondary market for renewables picks up

Ongoing consolidation in South Africa’s renewable-energy sector has led consulting firm Deloitte Africa to assess several asset valuation methodologies to help guide participants in secondary market transactions. Deloitte Africa partner Mohsin Khan tells Engineering News Online that valuing domestic renewable-energy assets has proved challenging, owing to the distinctive character of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and the absence of a transaction history for such assets.

SAWEA calls for urgent finalisation of the IRP

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is making an urgent call for the release of the finalised Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in order to “create the certainty required to attract foreign investment”. The draft IRP was tabled for public comment in August 2018 and an updated version was issued in March 2019.

DBSA partners with Apalia24 on DRC off-grid pilot project

The Development Bank of Southern Africa has committed $2.25-million in project preparation funding to Mauritius-based off-grid energy and media company Apalia24. Apalia24 is involved with bundling solar photovoltaic solutions, pay-go technologies, digital broadcasting and solar television to empower Africa, with the Democratic Republic of Congo its first country of deployment.

Initial ‘just energy transition’ work points to need to cushion coal regions

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Energy Centre has initiated a project to model the socioeconomic risks and opportunities associated with South Africa’s transition from a coal-dominant electricity industry to one that is increasingly based on renewable energy. The project, which is being pursued under the theme of a ‘just energy transition’ for South Africa, will be completed during the first quarter of 2020.

Zambia, Zimbabwe to start building Batoka power plant next year

Zambia and Zimbabwe will start building the 2 400 MW Batoka Gorge hydropower plant next year, a company jointly owned by the two governments said on Tuesday. The Batoka project involves construction of a dam, powerhouses, roads, transmission infrastructure and houses in both Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) said in a statement.

Enel Green Power starts Garob wind farm construction

Enel Green Power South Africa this week started construction on its 140 MW Garob wind farm, near Copperton, in the Northern Cape. This is the group’s fifth wind project in the country, operating as a renewable subsidiary for energy multinational Enel, and will cost around €200-million to build.

ELB pours first concrete at Ngodwana biomass power project

ELB Engineering Services has successfully completed the first concrete pour at the 25 MW Ngodwana Energy biomass power project, in Mpumalanga. The first concrete pour was done for a section of the boiler building raft foundation and was about 300 m3. The boiler forms part of the power island which consists of the boiler, turbine, cooling towers, a precipitator and a stack.

Conco wins eSwatini solar power project

South Africa's Consolidated Infrastructure Group (Conco) has won a $16-million contract to build a 10 MW solar project, in eSwatini, the firm said late on Thursday. The kingdom, formerly known as Swaziland, imports 80% of its electricity from South Africa's troubled utility Eskom but is looking to boost its energy independence.

Natura welcomes Namibia’s new energy framework

Natura Energy on Friday announced that the company was forging ahead with the development and implementation of the 50 MW TeraSun energy solar photovoltaic power park initiative to sell, across the national grid, competitively priced electricity to large power users in Namibia. The decision follows an announcement by the Namibian Cabinet, in April, approving the new Modified Single Buyer model regulatory framework.

Collaboration ensures reliable energy solutions for water pumpstations

With pumpstations requiring prime power from the grid or reliable back-up power to ensure continuous water flow, power solutions manufacturer Himoinsa works closely with water contractors and consultants to deliver the best solution for a pumpstation. “Whether it’s prime or continuous running, we provide the source of power for the pumpstation or standby application in case the grid fails,” says Himoinsa director of business development Matthew Bell.

Zambia directs State power firm to take cost-cutting measures

Zambia's Zesco should freeze staff hiring, merge some of its departments and take other steps to cut costs and make the State power utility more efficient, a government body said. The government said in November it had started implementing measures to transform Zesco, which does not have enough capacity to meet the African nation's power demand.

Opinion: Why solar is an attractive solution for small firms

In this article, South African Photovoltaic Industry Association programme manager Niveshen Govender outlines the business case for those small firms weighing an investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Increased demand and technological advances have attributed to the significant decrease in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems costs over the years.

Jobs spin-offs in focus as South Africa’s rooftop solar installed base grows beyond 400 MW

An analysis conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Energy Centre outlines significant potential to create thousands of fulltime jobs and to nurture hundreds of small enterprises by supporting the further deployment of small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) plants. Even in the absence of a supportive environment, the centre estimates that South Africa’s installed base of SSEG plants, mostly in the form of rooftop solar installations, has grown to above 400 MW from close to zero ten years ago.

Kibo mulls renewables cogeneration opportunities

In line with its strategy of incorporating long-term renewable energy solutions into its existing coal power projects, Africa-focused Kibo Energy has signed a collaboration agreement with ESS Tech to develop suitable baseload electricity storage solutions. Having recognised the increasing need to generate reliable, sustainable, cost-effective and efficient electricity, the parties will actively develop energy storage solutions, which will initially focus on Kibo’s Mbeya coal-to-power project (MCPP), in Tanzania; its Mabesekwa coal independent power project, in Botswana; and its Benga power plant project, in Mozambique, with the possibility of expanding this collaboration into new opportunities in the future.

South Africa, China sign deal to partner in Square Kilometer Array

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, who is leading a South African delegation of senior government officials to the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation Coordinators’ Meeting, on Monday signed a deal which paves the way for Beijing entities to partner in South Africa's astronomy ventures, including the Square Kilometer Array. The FOCAC Coordinators’ Meeting is taking place on Monday and Tuesday.

Perdekraal East Wind Farm turbine foundations completed ahead of schedule

The developers of the Perdekraal East Wind Farm, in the Western Cape, last week completed the project’s 48 wind turbine foundations – three weeks ahead of schedule and still within budget. The first of the foundations was poured in November 2018.

Wild weather is endangering world's oldest form of clean power

The Kariba Dam has towered over one of Africa’s mightiest rivers for 60 years, forming the world’s largest reservoir and providing reliable electricity to Zambia and Zimbabwe. But as drought grips the region, flow on the Zambezi river has dwindled to a third of what it was a year ago. Last month, Zambia’s state-owned power utility began cutting output, unleashing daily blackouts that leave more than 17-million people in the dark.

GE wins bid to build $4bn Zambia-Zimbabwe hydropower plant

Zimbabwe and Zambia chose General Electric (GE) and Power Construction Corporation of China to build a $4-billion hydropower project straddling their border, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said. The 2 400 MW Batoka Gorge plant has been planned for years by the two southern African nations, both of which are struggling with electricity shortages after a drought curbed hydropower output. General Electric and Power China are in a consortium that was shortlisted in February to build the facility.

Concentrated sunlight used to produce hydrogen

Researchers at the Swiss École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology, or EPFL) created a device that uses a smaller amount of rare and costly materials required to produce hydrogen by concentrating sunlight to maintain a high solar-to-fuel efficiency. “Hydrogen will play a key role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It can be sustainably produced using solar energy to split water molecules. The resulting clean energy can be stored, used to fuel cars or converted into electricity on demand,” says the research team at the EPFL Laboratory of Renewable Energy Science and Engineering (LRESE).

SA urged to home in on green-hydrogen export niche

The technology to produce green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolysing water using renewable energy, in South Africa is becoming cost-effective enough to develop the capacity to sell the product in local and international industrial markets, says technical advisory services firm Kambuku Consulting founding director Justin Wimbush. The available technology is viable for South African-produced green hydrogen to be supplied to the European transport markets. This is supported by the fact that countries, such as Japan, are putting in place arrangements to buy hydrogen generated in locations as distant as Chile, he highlights.

Kenya slashes 2030 power production targets as use still low – media

Kenya has cut its target for expanding its electricity output by 2030 by nearly 30% as demand is growing more slowly than expected, its energy minister was quoted as saying. The country now plans to add 7 200 MW of installed electricity capacity to its grid by 2030, down from an original target of 10 000 MW, Energy Minister Charles Keter was quoted as saying by local media on Thursday.

Wits launches first solar district heating system in South Africa

The South African National Energy Development Institute last month launched the first solar district heating system in South Africa at the Wits University’s Junction Campus, saving the buildings millions in energy costs a year.

Six new members join Hydrogen Council

Six new member companies have joined the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative for hydrogen technologies. The council now has 60 members after BP joined as a steering member and AVL, Itochu Corporation, Liebherr Group, Power Assets Holdings and SinoHytec joined as supporting members.

The world will get half its power from wind, solar by 2050

Nearly half the world’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2050 as costs of wind, solar and battery storage continue to plummet. That titanic shift over the next three decades will come as electricity demand increases 62% and investors pump $13.3-trillion into new projects, according to a report released Tuesday by BloombergNEF.

Drought leaves key African hydro dam less than a third full

A regional drought has reduced water levels at Kariba Dam, the main source of power for Zambia and Zimbabwe, to less than a third of its capacity. The dam is only 29% full, compared with 88% a year ago and 31% at the start of June, the Zambezi River Authority said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Zimbabwean Energy Minister Fortune Chasi warned last month that Zimbabwe will suspend electricity production at Kariba in September if current rates of depletion continue.

Mergence’s investment in Namibian solar plant signals further localisation

Local asset manager Mergence Unlisted Investment Managers (Namibia) has bought a majority stake in the 6 MW Momentous Solar One plant, near Keetmanshoop, in Namibia. “The purchase of a majority stake in the Keetmanshoop project signals a positive trend to localisation of the industry – a solar plant owned by Namibians for Namibians,” says Mergence portfolio manager Hileni Nghinaunye.

Hydrogen offers pathway for lowering hard-to-abate carbon emissions – IEA

Hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could help facilitate the decarbonisation of a range of sectors where the pathway for achieving meaningful emission reductions is currently uncertain or difficult, a new global study argues. Released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan, the report says that hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could help facilitate emission reductions in sectors such as long-haul transportation, aviation, shipping and buildings, as well as in chemicals and steel manufacturing.