The introduction of solar technology has brought a plethora of advantages. When this technology is applied to commercial and industrial applications, the benefits seemingly multiply tenfold. So says Trevor de Vries, MD of AEG Power Solutions South Africa.
It’s a well-known fact that South Africa’s commercial and industrial businesses utilise a significant chunk of the country’s electricity supply. Interestingly, up to 60 percent of the power these entities guzzle is used to drive air-conditioning, server maintenance rooms and computer systems.
Under pressure to lower their electricity costs and save power in an energy scarce climate, De Vries says corporates are increasingly turning to solar solutions to obtain drastic cost reductions. However, many companies are put off switching to solar power as the initial cost of the materials and installation can be expensive. But switching to solar is easier and more cost effective than many companies think.
“Not having to pay for electricity immediately begins to offset the cost of installation. The cost benefits of using industrial solar panels also quickly adds up when looked at over a period of time. Importantly, not only do solar systems help keep costs under control, they also reduce the negative environmental impact large businesses can create without compromising the bottom line.”
The size of most commercial and industrial buildings makes them ideal for the installation of large scale industrial solar panels. And by making use of the space available to them, these businesses not only capture huge amounts of energy, but they can also effectively become semi-independent power plants.
Explains De Vries: “When coupled with solar energy captured through photovoltaic panels, premises that utilise such technology become their own mini power plants capable of feeding electricity back into the grid. This not only provides cost savings, but allows companies to realise a profit from their building’s power-generating capacity.”
De Vries adds that commercial and industrial buildings are increasingly incorporating intelligent layout and designs with features such as dual-pane windows, air-tight ductwork, high-calibre wall and ceiling insulation and building management systems, all of which helps curb energy consumption and create super-efficient, solar-powered buildings which enable business owners to combat rising energy costs and save on their utility bills.
"The paradigm of construction is changing," says de Vries: "Now; greater efficiency doesn't cost you more."
Converting more solar power into electricity is high on the political agenda in many countries, amid the push to find domestic energy sources that are less polluting than fossil fuels. With solutions like those offered by AEG Power Solutions, it is easy to see how solar energy will, in all likelihood, soon become an essential component of South Africa’s energy mix.