The growing success of PV can be attributed to reduced cost of ownership and improved return on investment. It is now reasonable to expect a PV system to be competitive with Eskom or municipal supply from date of installation over a 25-year period. Thanks to the Department of Energy’s successful tender, a first wave of large-scale solar installations will feed the national grid soon and more rounds are due to happen, creating a sustainable demand for solar equipment in South Africa. PV panels are being imported in increasing quantities and local manufacturing, as well as skills, are being developed. South Africa has the benefit of receiving more solar irradiation than many other parts of the world, making PV systems a very efficient way in which to offset traditional supply costs.
Electricity cost savings comes directly from the government through incentives that can cover up to 50% of the total investment (through DTI grants) or through parastatal entities such as Eskom’s rebate scheme, and subsidised loans from IDC, or even from certain commercial banks which offer lower than prime interests rates on “green” projects. Other schemes can be applied and bring ancillary benefits too, such as SARS’ accelerated depreciation scheme which grants tax exemptions over first three years of 50/30/20% per annum. All of these benefits are now being promoted by most solar system providers ensuring that the investment is well managed and will provide expected benefits. Return on investment can be as much as five to seven times the investment back from savings over 20 years. Buying a turnkey solar PV system allows one to recoup the investment after less than four years (including incentives) from the savings made on Eskom/municipal bills.
PV panels have been installed on rooftops and land areas for years, but they can now also be installed bodies of water, thereby saving important and valuable land space. These water-based solar panels can be deployed on any irrigation dam, pond or reservoir. This setup also offers improved yield thanks to a natural cooling effect on the solar panels and, above all, preserves water resources by limiting evaporation, an important advantage to any enterprise that uses water in its processes.
Contact Yoann Joyeux, Ciel & Terre, Tel 011 267-5867, firstname.lastname@example.org