There is a saying that goes “Sharing is caring” and what better way to do so than to share renewable resources? This concept is starting to become more popular not only because it is environmentally beneficial, but also because it is a cheaper alternative to that of living on the grid. A perfect example is that of Vandebron which is a start-up in the Netherlands that allow consumers to purchase electricity directly from a private and independent group of  farmers with wind turbine and solar set-ups. Consumers purchase their electricity from the farmers at cost price (roughly) of  US$ 0.28 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the farmer and their renewable energy setup) with an additional subscription fee of roughly US $12 per month. Setting up such an operation is definitely easier in countries like Holland with their deregulated energy market, but should not deter other countries from doing the same. 

South Africa especially can benefit from such a setup with its already overloaded grid barely meeting the consumer’s demands. Surprisingly Cape Town is home to one. A similar project called the Black River Park (BRP) Solar Plant is located in Observatory. The City of Cape Town has approved the project to supply energy to its distribution network and a buy-back rate close to the rate at which the city buys power from Eskom.

The BRP  boasts a total of 2875 PV solar panels that delivers about 700kW with  a further 2050 panels being installed as part of phase 2 of the project. The period when solar PV power is generated coincides with the peak demand period when air-conditioners are running. Once entirely completed, it is estimated that the the system will generate a total of 1.9 million GW/h per year which is enough energy to power about a 1000 average sized houses. 

The main reason municipalities do not encourage more electricity generation is that they depend on the revenue from electricity sales. But the academic director of the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch, Mark Swilling, said municipalities were realising that the small amount of revenue lost from allowing solar generation would be more than offset by increased economic activity, as businesses could be more efficient and the location would attract more businesses.





Power Logic SA would like to wish Nick Brear our Senior Industrial Designer a prosperous future and all the best in his coming endeavors after nearly 14  years with the Power Logic family. Nick started off in the production department compiling process drawings and documents and finished up in the R&D department as Senior designer utilizing our latest Solidworks  Premium design suite and 3D printing facilities for product and mould design. You shall be missed Nick! 




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