Embedded PV systems have their uses

The most effective measure (after energy efficiency measures have been exhausted) to maximise cost control is to install an embedded (ie on-site) photovoltaic (PV) system to generate solar power for the business. At the current cost of grid-supplied electricity, a rooftop solar generation system is an excellent investment. The benefits of these systems are obtainable without any capital investment, through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA agreement offers solar power generated at discounts of up to 50% of the grid supply price.


The second issue, according to De Waal, is one of reliability, or security of supply [due to loadshedding] and has indirect cost implications through loss of production and productivity. “Reliability issues are not addressed by a solar system on its own, when the Eskom or municipal grid is down solar production also stops in its entirety.”


“This is one of the biggest misconceptions regarding solar systems, that they keep producing when the grid is down. For that to happen you have to integrate the solar system with alternative backup systems like Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) or a generator.”


Security of supply concerns therefore must be addressed by energy backup systems that are not intermittent and that can provide a stable reference grid – currently either BESS or generators.