The South African College High School (SACS), in Cape Town, made a commitment to clean energy by installing a solar system at its Rosedale Boarding House.
The solar system was installed in November by Energy Partners Home Solutions, part of the PSG group of companies. SACS deputy headmaster Barry van Selm explains that installing a solar system at the school was an easy choice.
“SACS have become very aware of its carbon footprint, so a renewable-energy option is important to us. In the past five years, we have also seen huge increases in electricity tariffs so we needed to find a sustainable way of bringing those costs down.”
Energy Partners Home Solutions marketing and sales head Cala van der Westhuizen explains that schools like SACS, with boarding houses and plenty of activity over weekends and holidays, are the perfect place to install solar systems as these types of properties consume most of their energy during the day peak solar hours.
He explains that the Energy Partners’ team started off with an in-depth analysis into the requirements of the boarding house. This involved taking the generation capacity that regulations would permit the team to install, into consideration.
“According to our findings, we could install a 25 kW inverter at the boarding house, which is the maximum size allowed under standards organisation National Regulations Standard regulations for the specific infrastructure of the site. With the actual solar array, we had a bit more leeway, so we installed 30.88 kWp of multicrystalline solar panels,” he points out.
Van der Westhuizen says this enables the system to produce electricity at the converter’s maximum level for as long as possible during peak hours and also produce excess power that the school will be able to possibly sell back to the City of Cape Town.
Van Selm highlights that, as part of the system, the school received a tracking tool that allows them to monitor the system in real time. Being able to track the system’s energy production is very interesting and allows the school to see the results of using solar energy. The use of electricity from the grid has been cut by about one-third, which amounts to a saving of around R75 000 at the current electricity tariffs.
“We are very excited about the results we have seen so far and looking forward to reducing our carbon footprint and electricity bills even further in the near future,” concludes Van Selm.