These systems allow for induction into mixed-energy models because they help to introduce and reinforce the correct behaviour to leverage renewable-energy sources effectively. Solar PV systems are well suited to offset grid power used for a company’s baseload demand, such as servers and other constant loads.
“The first step when deploying renewable self-generation is to improve basic energy-consumption behaviour in the company to get the baseload as low as possible. Low-cost and easy-to-use technologies, such as energy efficient lighting, and best practice behaviour, such as switching off lighting and idling systems, will help to reduce the baseload to a minimum.”
Once this minimum baseload has been determined, the PV system can be designed to meet this baseload. The amount of space that a company has available, typically in the form of rooftop space and/or parking lot space, must then be compared with the baseload.
However, Fourie notes that baseload power is one of the common uses of renewable energies, with the others being peak shaving – reducing excessive electricity charges as a result of high peak consumption – and reducing a company’s environmental impact, for example, to meet ISO 14000 environmental standards.
“The business objective of a solar system is the most important element because it determines the design and roll-out of the system. However, renewable-energy systems are well suited to phased and incremental installation, which also serves to provide concrete visibility of realised financial benefits, compared with expected benefits.”