Clearwater Mall
Solar
South Africa's commercial sector is showing more interest in rooftop PV solar in an effort to ensure a reliable power supply

Earlier this month, the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) and South African Property Owners' Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to improve energy security through photovoltaic (PV) power.

The MoU will enable the groups to work cohesively to support the development of PV installations on the rooftops of shopping malls, as well as in office and industrial parks across South Africa, PV Tech reported.

Neil Gopal, chief executive officer at South African Property Owners' Association (SAPOA), said: “Given the current energy constraints in the country, we welcome this and any such initiatives to address the challenges facing South Africa.”

Moeketsi Thobela, CEO of SAPVIA, added: “This builds on a number of initiatives that have seen embedded PV generation capacity increase rapidly from 10MW to more than 30MW. The synergies represented by this agreement are enormous, including the fact that both the demand from SAPOA members’ property portfolios and solar PV generation tend to peak during the day.”

Clearwater Mall installs solar system

Clearwater Mall
Gauteng's Clearwater Mall, home to over 250 shopping outlets, has been powering itself with solar since November 2014. Pic credit: 4x4 Community

In another example of off-grid generation in South Africa, Johannesburg shopping centre Clearwater Mall, located in Strubens Valley, has installed a 500kWp rooftop solar system, which has been powering the facility since November 2014.

According to the Southern African Alternative Energy Association, Johannesburg-based power company Solareff built the 4,000m² system in seven weeks and installed nine Powador 60.0 TL3 solar PV inverters made by KACO New Energy for the reliable conversion of energy.

Managing director of Solareff Jaco Botha said that the solar power will supply 843,000kWh annually to the Clearwater Mall.

The panels, said Botha, are not only helping the mall to cut its electricity bill, but will curb about 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions.