This week, the Austrian ambassador South Africa officially launched two new solar power systems in Johannesburg.
The SOLTRAIN projects includes a district heating plant for Wits University residences and a solar process heating plant for the Klein Karoo International tannery. The Wits Junction district heating project combines solar, co-generation, and gas heating technologies. This project would serve 14 student residence buildings that house 1,103 students supplied by hot water from one centralized hot water plant room. This installation includes a 600m2 solar heating plant with 10m2collectors.
The project is estimated to save Wits an estimated R40 million over the course of 20 years, with considerable savings seen over an 8 month trial period. An image of how this solar plant is set up can be seen below.
The Klein Karoo tannery installed 600 m2 solar system as it seeks to reduce its costs and increase its competitiveness. Stellenbosch University predicts a payback of 6.5 years based on a financial model analysis from the feasibility study, which includes maintenance, finance costs, and all system-related expenses – this after approaching the Klein Karoo tannery with this proposal.
Dr Karen Surridge commented:
“SANEDI is delighted to be associated with such landmark developments that put the SOLTRAIN projects firmly on the renewables table.
The successful conference we have just held with SOLTRAIN partners indicates the relevance of this highly successful programme for the SADC renewable energy strategy and the development in successful systems across six countries.”
Dr Karen Surridge is the centre manager for the renewable energy centre at SANEDI.