An impressive 163kWp solar plant was completed on a farm in the Brits area recently and is one of the first grid connected solutions for which Eskom and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approval was granted.

The solar plant on a Brits farm

According to Ignatius Cronjé, owner of the Pretoria-based solar company, the project took two years and saves the farmer around 45% in electricity cost per month.

The project entailed the analysis of projected cost savings through a solar plant, taking the customer’s historic consumption into account. Using modern projection methods, the company, LessWatts, was able to come up with a solution to maximise the saving against power usage.

“We facilitated the application process with Eskom and NERSA, both from a technical and regulatory perspective. Once approval from Eskom was received, we designed the system and implemented the entire solution,” said Cronjé.

“The installation’s intent was to save the customer money and to help drive down production costs. We were blessed with an educated customer who was well in control of all the finer details of his farming enterprise. We had multiple meetings with him to explain the various aspects that make up such a solution. On many occasions we were challenged to think outside the box and come up with cost-saving alternatives to standard approaches without compromising on quality.”

The installation, consisting of 360 solar panels and two inverters, was activated two months ago and the last details attended to last week. “The nominal output of the system is 160 kW. A properly installed solar solution like this will provide in excess of 20 years’ trouble-free electricity at a fraction of the cost of energy from the utility.”

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