The Austrian ambassador to South Africa officially launched two large solar power installations in Johannesburg today.
These SOLTRAIN projects include a district heating plant for Wits University residences and a solar process heating plant for the Klein Karoo International (KKI) tannery.
The Wits Junction district heating project combines solar, co-generation, and gas heating technologies, serving 14 student residence buildings that house 1,103 students with hot water from one centralised hot water plant room. This installation includes a 600m2 solar heating plant with 10m2 collectors.
The estimated costs savings delivered by this project are R40 million over the next 20 years, and Wits has seen substantial electricity savings over the trial period of eight months.
The KKI tannery section has also installed a 600m2 solar collector system as it seeks to reduce its costs and increase its competitiveness.
Stellenbosch University, which approached KKI with the proposal, predicts a payback of 6.5 years based on a financial model analysis from the feasibility study, which includes maintenance, finance costs, and all system-related expenses.
“SANEDI is delighted to be associated with such landmark developments that put the SOLTRAIN projects firmly on the renewables table,” said Dr Karen Surridge, centre manager for the renewable energy centre at SANEDI.
“The successful conference we have just held with SOLTRAIN partners indicates the relevance of this highly successful programme for the SADC renewable energy strategy and the development in successful systems across six countries.”