40 year anniversay
SOLARWORLD Africa first to offer ATESS in South Africa 24.10

Leading provider of solar energy solutions in Southern Africa, SOLARWORLD Africa, is proud to announce it is the first company locally to offer the full range of ATESS solutions.

 

ATESS is a global supplier of solar energy storage solutions, dedicated to developing and delivering affordable clean energy to every corner of the world to those seeking energy independence. With an international service network with offices and warehouses on five continents, ATESS – working with SOLARWORLD Africa – is well poised to deliver superior products and excellent after-sales service to the Southern African market.

 

With 40 years of experience, SOLARWORLD Africa offers state of the art products and sales service to partners in the African Renewable Energy Sector. It is the exclusive representative or Tier 1 distribution partner for industry and technology leading global manufacturers and is thrilled to add ATESS to its portfolio.

 

SOLARWORLD Africa will not only focus on distributing ATESS hybrid battery and inverter technology, it will also offer high quality, complete solutions that include the ATESS batteries and where needed, the containerization of the ESS (Energy Storage Solution) for commercial and utility applications.

 

Says Gregor Küpper, SOLARWORLD Africa’s Managing Director: “We are excited to announce our partnership with ATESS and in so doing, being able to offer our partners the complete ATESS solutions. We are impressed with ATESS and their commitment into research and development. They constantly seek to create and innovate for a greener future, so adding them to our proposition is a proud moment for SOLARWORLD Africa.”

Solutions for South Africans seeking alternative power sources 24.10

Eskom has announced the start of loadshedding again and the reality of ongoing blackouts remains ever-present for South Africans. Households and businesses, in particular smaller businesses who do not have the luxury of large generators in an office or warehouse environment, continue to seek alternative power sources to keep the lights on.

 

According to Gregor Kuepper, Managing Director of SOLARWORLD Africa, there has been a marked uptake in renewable energy solutions as consumers start preparing for the worst – ongoing stage 6 loadshedding. “Solar used to be only a solution for large scale businesses or those with adequate space to house enough panels to support electricity consumption. Fortunately, and thanks to innovation in this space, homes and small businesses now have several options available to either provide temporary support when there is a power cut, and potentially, long term relief as the preferred ongoing power source.”

 

The SOLARWORLD Africa team has 40 years’ experience and a proven track record in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kuepper explains how the following solutions will keep the lights on – or the kettle boiling – and machines running during loadshedding ultimately becoming more self-sufficient or grid independent.

 

There are different types of energy systems: on-grid (grid-tied), off-grid, and on-grid with backup. “Grid-tied solar PV systems are most common in South Africa, as these are the most affordable and have the best business case. However, this does not necessarily ensure that you will be able to enjoy that cup of coffee during loadshedding. Grid-tied solar PV systems will generally be programmed to switch off during load shedding.”

 

Why is this? It comes down to international safety standards. However, it does not mean South Africans have to remain in the dark.

 

If you’ll pardon the pun, Kuepper ‘sheds some light’ on the different solutions:

 

Solution 1 – Grid-tied Photovoltaic (PV) system

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is an electric power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. The two main components are PV panels (DC power) and a grid-tied PV inverter (DC to AC).

Why do you need a grid-tied PV inverter? It converts the varying DC power, from the PV panels, into AC power and feeds it to your household equipment and possibly into the grid.
What is meant by “grid-tied”? The inverter synchronizes the frequency and the output voltage to its connected grid. If solar energy is insufficient, a grid-tied PV inverter switches and starts drawing power from the grid into your home. It ensures there is a seamless power supply.

 

 

“This option saves electricity in the long run, no backup required. The pure PV inverters are grid-tied, this means they require the grid to switch on and convert the direct current (PV) into alternating current power which is required by appliances in your home.”

 

Solution 2 – On-Grid with Backup

 

2.1 PV and Battery 

This is a backup and later self-consumption optimization (SCO) option. Self-consumption contributes to the distribution grid stability by avoiding voltage rise during peak PV generation periods such as the middle of the day, and helps to reach higher shares of installed PV in the electricity mix.

 

“When it comes to PV and battery, this can be served by either a hybrid (meaning PV and battery) inverter or separate battery and PV inverter. Your batteries act as backup power when the grid has failed e.g. loadshedding or a power outage. During a normal day, PV can provide power in a house and charge these batteries. This stored power can then be used during the night which is what we call SCO.”

 

2.2 Battery Backup

This is purely a backup solution and usually sized to make sure that your essential loads are up and running during loadshedding/power failure. Under the banner of pure battery backup, you also have various options. Such as a UPS, battery together with a charge controller and then of course battery and battery inverter. Of these, a battery with a good and reliable battery inverter is the most reliable solution.

 

2.3 Battery and hybrid inverter

This is the same as the battery and battery inverter option except consumer have an opportunity to install PV panels at a later stage and do not have to add the extra cost of a PV inverter, as it would be PV-ready.

 

Solution 3 – Off-grid

In the current South African energy climate, this option sounds very enticing. It does however require careful planning and sizing of your system. You would require a large enough PV array to serve your daily loads and charge the batteries for use at night. And in turn, a large enough battery bank to serve the loads during the evenings and possibly during daytime, when there is not enough PV generation. There is of course the option to add a generator or to use the grid as backup.

 

Kuepper advises that a tailored approach will see various renewable energy solutions and products being recommended and made available. “Consult the experts, weigh up the options and also find a solution that not only meets your electricity consumption needs, but that is also financially viable – and always consider the long term benefits as certain products are designed to go the extra mile.”

SOLARWORLD Africa and Risen Energy: Driving Solar Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa 24.10

SOLARWORLD Africa, a leading provider of solar energy solutions in Southern Africa, has recently partnered with Risen Energy, a Chinese based, tier 1 solar panel manufacturer known for producing some of the most efficient and durable solar panels in the world.

 

Perfectly suited for our African climate, the Risen Energy Hyper-ion HJT solar modules are designed to operate at high temperatures and generate 5.61% more electricity every year compared to a standard mono PERC module in Johannesburg, as an example.

 

With 40 years of experience on the continent, SOLARWORLD has been a pioneer in promoting renewable energy solutions across Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa. Says Gregor Küpper, Managing Director of SOLARWORLD Africa: “We do understand the better performance of hetero-junction cell technology and the benefits of partnering with this renowned company and have formalised a relationship that sees Risen Energy panels being imported to Southern Africa. Their solar modules perform exceptionally and we expect great things going forward.”

 

One of the newest and most exciting products from Risen Energy is their Hyper-ion HJT solar panel. This innovative technology combines heterojunction cells with a high-efficiency passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) structure, resulting in a solar panel with unmatched efficiency and performance. The Hyper-ion HJT solar panel has an impressive efficiency rating of up to 22.3%, which means it is able to generate more electricity from the same amount of sunlight compared to other solar panels.

 

The Hyper-ion HJT solar panel also has a high tolerance to shading, which is important in regions where buildings and other structures may cast shadows on the solar panels. This means that even in partially shaded areas, the solar panel will continue to generate electricity at a high level of efficiency.

 

“The Hyper-ion HJT solar panel is a prime example of a high-quality solution as its innovative technology is well-suited to our climate and offers unmatched efficiency and performance. This is an attractive USP for our customers.”

 

Another feature of this product is that it boasts a longer lifespan compared to many other solar panels on the market. With a degradation rate of only 0.25% per year, by the end of the 30th year, the Hyper-ion HJT has a power retention rate above 90%.

 

“So while the product warranty for the Hyper-ion HJT solar panel is 12 years, the long-term efficiency and durability of the panel ensures that customers will benefit from solar energy for many years beyond the warranty period.” This is a quality feature in line with SOLARWORLD’s business strategy to provide long-standing and new customers with access to advanced solar technology solutions.

 

Küpper concludes, “By importing Risen Energy’s Hyper-ion HJT solar panels into Southern Africa, we are promoting sustainable and reliable energy solutions for homes, businesses and communities across the region.

 

Africa is now indeed well on its way to achieving a sustainable and energy-efficient future.

SOLARWORLD Africa honoured as Huawei’s „Best Development Partner“ in South Africa 24.10

SOLARWORLD Africa, the leading importer and distributor of high quality, brand-leading solar & photovoltaic products and solutions in South Africa, is thrilled to announce its prestigious achievement as the recipient of Huawei’s highly coveted ‘Best Development Partner Award’ in the country. This recognition highlights SOLARWORLD’s exceptional growth and outstanding market performance in the digital power sector throughout 2022.

 

The ‘Best Development Partner Award’ is bestowed upon partners who demonstrate the fastest growth in sales and market share of Huawei’s digital power solutions. Following a rigorous evaluation process, SOLARWORLD emerged as the clear winner, surpassing expectations with an exceptional growth rate exceeding 200%.

 

Gregor Kuepper, Managing Director of SOLARWORLD Africa, expressed his delight at receiving this award. „We are immensely honoured to be acknowledged as Huawei’s ‚Best Development Partner‘ in South Africa. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team. It affirms our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solar solutions and reinforces our position as a leading distributor and importer in the renewable energy sector.“

 

SOLARWORLD’s strategic partnership with Huawei has been instrumental in driving the adoption of digital power solutions in South Africa. By leveraging Huawei’s state-of-the-art technologies and SOLARWORLD’s expertise in solar energy, the partnership has successfully provided customers with reliable and efficient renewable energy solutions, contributing to the region’s sustainable development.

Large-scale Solar Installation Keeps Bella Frutta Going 24.07

When Bella Frutta, a specialised packing facility for apples and pears in Ceres, reached out to African Technical Innovations (ATI) for a solar solution, they had one specific goal in mind: to secure a system that was of the highest quality, with exceptional performance. ATI, recognising the opportunity, rose to the challenge and turned to SOLARWORLD Africa to provide high caliber inverters and panels. The resulting installation was a resounding success, leading to a subsequent project with African Solar Installations (ASI) that also utilised the same premium products.

 

Bella Frutta, equipped with a workforce of 220 individuals, engages in local operations encompassing short-term bin storage, packing, finished product storage, and loadouts. The company relied on two sizable diesel generators to ensure an uninterrupted electricity supply for their conveyor belts and storage units. However, escalating power outages and rising diesel costs necessitated an ideal photovoltaic (PV) solution that could seamlessly integrate with the existing diesel generators. To attain operational stability and adhere to the rigorous demands of the European export market, Bella Frutta sought PV modules and inverters renowned for their exceptional quality, performance, and capacity to provide yield security.

Kobus Engelbrecht, Managing Director of ATI, was responsible for the first solar installation at the premises.  “We contacted SOLARWORLD Africa immediately for two main reasons. The first because they are our trusted partners and will not accept anything but the best in terms of product performance and client service. And secondly because they represent world-leading brands locally, and through them, ATI installed excellent Huawei SUN2000-100KTL smart string inverters, combined with the best-in-class PV modules from Hanwha Q CELLS, allowing us to offer Bella Frutta the most efficient solution.

 

“For the first phase of the project in December 2020, we used two SUN2000-100KTL Huawei inverters and 430W Q CELLS PV modules for the 200 kWp installation. The initial installation, including the integration of the existing diesel generators, was a success and they decided to extend and increase their solar power generation.”

 

Thanks to the performance of the products installed in phase 1, the Bella Frutta executive team could see the benefits of going solar when working with the right team very quickly. So when the time came to discuss the feasibility of a second solar installation project, they reached out the same trusted partners specifically requesting the same trusted products.

 

In the second phase, the installation consisted of eight SUN2000-100KTL Huawei inverters and more than 1 MW of Q CELLS PV modules – again supplied by SOLARWORLD.

 

Jandre Engelbrecht, Director of ASI, headed up the second phase installation. “As in phase 1, the Bella Frutta client was happy with the existing system as the solution was tailored to their load profile offering energy savings and quality products that had performed exceptionally well to date, so we were confident recommending Huawei and Q CELLS again.”

 

He continues, “Huawei have also embraced digital technology which aims to eliminate unnecessary costs for its partners as there are no unnecessary technical call-out fees. Their app, FusionSolar, is practical, user-friend and frequently updated – it is a plus point as I use it to monitor the Bella Frutta installations while on the go.”

 

Huawei’s management system allows users the flexibility to check the status of the installation and identify problems remotely, thus reducing manual re-sets and on-site working hours.

 

Gregor Küpper, Managing Director of SOLARWORLD Africa, explains: “Our business prides itself in offering high-quality products with excellent performance and building trusted and long-term relationships. When our long-term partners, ATI and ASI, recommended Huawei and Q CELLS, we knew that both projects would yield favourable results for Bella Frutta in terms of quality and cost savings.”

 

Jean du Plessis, Financial Director at Bella Frutta, says they can generate between 20-30% of power needed to run the packhouse.  “With our energy crisis, we had to consider other alternatives to address the risk involved at our packhouse. One option was solar and the other was generators as the sun only shines in the daytime and we need electricity 24/7. Generating our own electricity right there on-site means that we’re relying less on the National Grid and traditional utility supplier to power our business. In a nutshell, the more energy we produce, the more money we save.”

 

Another attractive aspect of solar panels is the low maintenance costs involved in keeping them. Du Plessis adds: “We manage just fine by cleaning them a couple of times a year at most. Again, since they have no moving parts, there is no wear and tear involved. For those considering solar, once you’ve covered the initial cost, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and ongoing repair work, leaving you to enjoy the savings.”

 

Green initiatives are also high on Bella Frutta’s agenda, and the ability of solar panels to produce energy without greenhouse gases or water pollution made it even more attractive to the team based in Ceres, and soon, hopefully more business will turn to solar to fulfil their large-scale power needs.

 

Watch the video here

SOLARWORLD Africa brings Meyer Burger solar to Africa 09.11


SOLARWORLD Africa, an importer and distributor of solar products, has partnered with European manufacturer of solar cells and modules, Meyer Burger Technology, to bring renewable energy solutions to Southern Africa.

Switzerland-headquartered Meyer Burger is primarily known for its production facilities in the photovoltaic industry. The company develops and produces systems with which solar cells can be manufactured and electrically connected for use in solar modules.

As part of the business-to-business partnership, Cape Town-based SOLARWORLD Africa will now offer Meyer Burger’s Heterojunction/SmartWire solar modules to solar power producers in SA and across the region.

Heterojunction technology is a solar panel production method that has been used across the globe to enable the solar cells to reach higher efficiency degrees at much lower cost of production.It allows an increase in the efficiency of the solar panels and more energy to be harvested easily when compared to conventional silicon solar panels.

Gregor Küpper, MD of SOLARWORLD Africa, explains: “As the exclusive distribution partner for Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa, SOLARWORLD Africa is proud to welcome Meyer Burger and their products into our product distribution portfolio.

“The advanced technology will result in lower-levelled cost of electricity and let the owner of the system benefit over at least 30 years, much longer than the standard technology currently sold in Africa.”

SOLARWORLD Africa designs, plans, procures and ships complete photovoltaic systems, as well as single components. Its portfolio covers the range of PV technologies, from large commercial projects, to power supply for remote rural areas.

Its decades-long experience and product testing, and the invaluable insights gained from its existing installations, will give the company the edge in delivering efficient PV systems to South African organisations, addsKüpper.

Meyer Burger was founded in 1953 in Switzerland. As a provider of energy production systems, the company believes it is well-poised for SA’s growing renewable energy requirements, with the country experiencing an ongoing electricity supply crisis.

The company says its products are designed to perform best under hot conditions and offer up to 20% higher energy yields than standard solar modules.

Sven Stoffers, head of sales at Meyer Burger, says: “Solar installers, EPCs and developers can now benefit from our technological advantages for their projects in Africa. With the service structures and the international network that SOLARWORLD Africa has built and maintained, our products can be used by quality- and performance-oriented solar specialists.”

SOLARWORLD Africa supplies Southern Africa’s largest rooftop solar energy system to agricultural sector 31.12

SOLARWORLD Africa (Pty) Ltd., together with EPC partner African Technical Innovations (Pty) Ltd., has commenced supply and installation of Southern Africa’s largest agricultural rooftop photovoltaic system (1015 MWp) for Ceres Fruit Growers (Pty) Ltd.

The 4060 SW250 SOLARWORLD polycrystalline panels are being installed on four north-facing roofs of Ceres Fruit Growers’ coldrooms. The SOLARWORLD system will supply Ceres Fruit Growers’ electrical grid with power to be largely consumed by the refrigeration compressor rooms during peak season.

“An installation of this size is testament to the strong move from the South African agri-sector towards the use of sustainable and renewable energy sources. The solar installation contributes not only to a reduced carbon footprint but also results in considerable savings in energy purchases for Ceres Fruit Growers”, says Kobus Engelbrecht, African Technical Innovations’ Managing Director.

Ceres Fruit Growers handles more than 110000 tons of apples and pears annually, with cooling, packing and marketing carried out according to client requirements and specifications. The premises span an area of over 54 hectares and consist of more than 100 cold stores.

“The major reason influencing our decision to install a renewable energy solution of this size was to fix a part of our electricity costs when faced with expected electricity tariff increases in the future. We purchase our electricity from the local municipality which is supplied by Eskom. On 28 February 2013, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) announced that Eskom’s electricity tariffs will increase by 8% per annum. However the individual tariff increases by Eskom and the municipality suggest an average increase of at least 11% for our business. Taking into account the fact that our operations consume approximately 29700 MWh of electricity annually, this will result in considerable savings for us”, says Francois Malan, Ceres Fruit Growers’ Managing Director.

This solar system will generate approximately 6% (1690 MWh) of Ceres Fruit Growers’ annual electricity consumption, reducing their carbon footprint by approximately 1622 tons per annum over the next 25 years and more. In addition, Ceres Fruit Growers’ Sustainability Policy places great emphasis on exploring new technologies that will reduce energy usage with the goal of reducing their energy consumption by 10% over the next three years.

“This 1 MWp photovoltaic system is the largest of its kind in the Southern African agricultural sector and marks an industry milestone. Agri-business is starting to see the long-term advantages of investment in renewables through the environmental and economic benefits. With electricity tariffs increasing annually, it makes economic sense for businesses such as Ceres Fruit Growers to explore solar power in order to fix their electricity costs for the next 25 years and longer”, says Gregor Küpper, SOLARWORLD Africa’s Managing Director.

Management Buy Out: 31.12

Gregor Küpper, Managing Director since 2006, takes over SOLARWORLD Africa in a Management Buy Out in April 2019. Together with his experienced team he is leading the business into the future, representing a unique portfolio of leading global manufacturers, serving all possible PV applications in Africa.

Installation of 10.8 kWp Mono Black Moduls at Private Luxuary Camp in Kruger National Park 31.12

Private luxury Lodge situated in the far northern area of the Kruger National Game Park. The camp has all the luxuries of high end modern living homes, consists of four modern luxury “tents” all equipped with the latest LED lighting, ceiling fans with automated blinds to form the 3 remaining walls. Sleeps a maximum of 8 persons, 2 per lodge.

The main lounge is equipped with a fine bar with fridges plus coffee makers and ceiling fans as well as LED lighting. Fully equipped Kitchen to prepare light lunches and snacks outside of the main meal times which are prepared by the main larger lodge. Lapa with a medium sized swimming Pool which is powered by a standard pool pump and salt water chlorinator. The drinking water is supplied from a bore hole, stored into 20 000 litres of tanks which also has a pressure pump to maintain pipe pressure. The 10.08 kW Solar system and 55 kWh Aquion Hybrid Ion battery run camp entirely with the back up support of the 32 kVa generator. The battery storage installed has been sized to comfortably support the loads during overcast conditions before getting assistance from the generator.

Facts:

Plant Size:

Information on the plant:

Location: Kruger National Park
Operator: Private
Planning and realisation: Solarsun Solutions (pty) ltd
Suppliers and support: SolarWorld and Sonx Energy

Equipment Installed:

SolarWorld Powers Grootbos Foundation, Non-Profit Organisation in Western Cape 31.12

SolarWorld, by way of its distribution partner and project implementer Solek, supplied a solar electricity system to the Grootbos Foundation, a non-profit organisation in the Western Cape. The project forms part of their aim to reduce their carbon footprint and costs, as well as to conserve the environment.

Leading global solar PV manufacturer, SolarWorld, donated the solar system whilst Solek provided a free of charge installation and engineering expertise. “This donation assists the Grootbos Foundation in its continued work towards our vision and brings us closer to living our commitment to sustainability and conservation”, says Julie Cheetham, Grootbos Foundation Managing Director.

The project includes a 5kWp solar system, which will generate sufficient energy ensuring the NPO has a fixed monthly electricity cost. Apart from assisting the Grootbos Foundation in saving on their electricity bill, the project contributes to conserving the environment, which forms part of their vision.

Gregor Kuepper, Managing Director of SolarWorld Africa explains, “Our commitment to sustainability begins on the inside. It starts with how we manufacture our products, choose our materials and treat our employees, then it extends to the communities we serve. Our commitment encompasses both economic and social sustainability which includes our factories, suppliers and employees.  It is part of our identity and this is what sets SolarWorld apart from the rest of the solar manufacturing industry”.

“Partnering and long-term relations with well-established solar companies have always been a key strategy. Our collaboration with SolarWorld on this project has proven successful and we look forward to building on past success and continue to collaborate in the future”, says Hannes Van Zyl, Solek Managing Director.

The Grootbos Foundation solar system is operative and will generate clean renewable energy for the training centre for 25 years and more. “We are extremely proud of our new environmentally friendly, energy efficient office and training facility which is complete with a brand new solar system and we are extremely grateful to SolarWorld and Solek Innovations”, concludes Cheetham.

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