Solar PV sites in full swing for Eskom
South African state-owned power utility, Eskom, announced on Monday that its six solar photovoltaic (PV) sites are in full operation, with a total installed capacity of 2,500kW.
The utility stressed that it remains committed to reducing its carbon footprint and is doing its part in helping the country transition to become a low carbon economy.
Expanding solar PV installations
The solar PV sites are located at the Kendal power station in Mpumalanga, the Lethabo power station in the Free State, Eskom’s offices in Rosherville (Johannesburg), Sunilaws (East London) and two at its head office Megawatt Park (Johannesburg) – one on the rooftop and one on the carports, the utility explained.
The company added that these installations form part of its national energy efficiency strategy.
“A further two sites at Mkondeni, Pietermaritzburg and Bellville, Cape Town are under construction and commissioning respectively,” the utility said in a company statement.
The company added: “All the PV sites in commercial operation are now operating at almost 100% availability and performance ratios well within the manufacturers’ guarantees.
“All energy generated is used for self-consumption at the various office blocks or power stations.”
Pilot PV plants
Eskom explained: “Some of the solar PV plants are pilot plants with different types of configuration being tested. At Kendal, for instance, we have installed a fixed-axis tilted at 20 degrees, single axis tracking at Lethabo, fixed axis PV panels for car parks and dual-axis tracking concentrating photovoltaics (CPVs) at Megawatt Park.
“We are fast building up skills, expertise and capability in project development, construction as well operations and maintenance of solar PV plant, poised for further developments and rollout to more Eskom offices and power stations.”
In other Eskom news, the utility recently announced that with the correct skill-set and knowledge, the engineering fraternity will use smart grids to re-energize an aging system to stimulate growth and socio-economic development for the consumer of the future.
Addressing a group of engineers at a conference last week, Eskom’s group chief executive Brian Molefe said: “Research and development and conferences of this nature are critical to address our specific needs to build local skills and capability to take us forward as a nation and a continent.”