17 October 2012 – In response to the growing demand for solar energy, Robert Bosch South Africa has installed a sample system at its sales office in Midrand. The Bosch Solar Energy division installed a 2.5 kWh mono crystalline and 2.5 kWh thin film system.

“It will in future be extended with a further 2.5 kWh polycrystalline system. The power produced by the system is fed into and used by the office blocks on site,” Andreas Wagner, head of Bosch South Africa’s solar division, says.

The ground based installation is used to showcase what the future PV plants in South Africa’s IPP/ rebate program will look like. The system produces about 14,000 kWh/year. If calculated on standard 20 year power producing period, the solar plant currently produces power for less R/ kwh than Eskom current rates.“With this installation we are showing on a small scale what solar energy can do for South Africa” Steffen Hoffmann, managing director of Robert Bosch says.

Due to the modularity of the system, it can cover the needs of residential users trying to get away from the monthly bills and commercial users looking for a greener alternative, which is also cost effective. The system can be set up at ground level or mounted on a roof.

These systems are installed across Africa in supermarkets, at distribution centres, daycare centres and are also used with great success at government and municipality levels. To date, the growing interest throughout Africa indicates that this system is also being used at game lodges, retreats and telecommunication facilities located in remote areas. Notably, other companies in need of solar powered UPS systems that don’t run flat when the grid is down for longer than expected are also using this system.

“Companies and residential developments that want to expand and are not getting more power from the grid, mines that run off diesel gensets and want to cut their fuel bill are among customers for this system. We anticipate growing interest in solar power from both commercial and residential users in years to come,” Wagner says.

Bosch Solar Energy in South Africa is geared up with local stock holding and technical expertise to accommodate the demand. In future Bosch plans to move to local production, if the Africa demand makes it economically viable.