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Net Metering in the Cape Town Domestic Market Net metering has made its way to Cape Town and what a wonderful change it has in store for the domestic market! Of course, the concept of net metering is not new. It was first introduced to Cape Town in 2012 and has unfortunately not been effectively utilised since. Now, however, the city has announced an official launch of the system along with guidelines and tariffs for small scale embedded energy generators with a generation capacity of less than 1MVA.   What is Net Metering and How Does it Work? Net metering is a system that allows households that generate their own solar power to add their excess energy to the national grid. The power that solar energy consumers export to the grid is used to supply nearby customers’ loads. Net metering provides solar energy exporters with a credit or agreed upon tariff / remuneration for their “stock”. Those involved in exporting power to the grid are called embedded generators.   What are the Benefits of Net Metering in Cape Town?
  • Consumers can reduce the amount of money that they spend on their electricity bills each year.
  • There is no need to purchase an expensive battery storage system to store excess energy – consumers can be remunerated for their excess energy, therefore absolutely no wastage occurs.
  • The national energy grid can be relieved of the demand that it experiences during peak times and this means less need for load shedding, if enough energy is exported from households to the grid.
  • It encourages consumers to become more environmentally aware and to actively participate in promoting a “green” community.
  • Energy suppliers can work towards seasonal storage, where power produced in summer can help to reduce on typically higher winter energy costs.
  • Solar systems that are used for net metering require no battery and no backup generator. Only the solar panels and an inverter are required for solar systems tied to the national grid. This means that these solar systems require no maintenance.
  How to Become an Embedded Generator and Actively Involved in Net Metering Those who want to become embedded generators need to make an application to do so. Application guidance and assistance can be provided by us, at Soventix. We are a Western Cape business that specialises in the building and operating of solar farms in sub-Saharan Africa. For more information and advice on net metering in Cape Town and to make an application, contact us at Soventix today.  

With load shedding schedules causing havoc on a grand scale, many households and businesses are consequently suffering serious inconveniences, with the latter also losing business and money each time the power goes off. As a result, reliable and cost-effective alternative energy sources are much needed!   As many know, solar power is an alternative and renewable energy source that needs no real introduction to the market place. Just about everyone has heard of the wonders of solar energy, which is why it’s such a pity that more households have not yet taken the step towards converting their homes to solar power! Better still, solar power with backup batteries provides an effective means of remaining lit up and powered up during load shedding times.   While some choose to make use of generators during load shedding, this can become a tedious chore. Generators can be expensive, are extremely noisy (especially to those with sensitive hearing), some can be difficult to start-up, and most importantly, they can also be costly because of the fuel they use. So, if you’re looking for a greener alternative – solar power is the backup power option of choice.   For those who want to stay connected to the national grid and simply have a minor backup power system to use, solar panels is a great option. Solar systems that are linked to a backup or storage battery are great, as sufficient solar power can be stored to serve your home for a certain period of time.  

How does it work?

  Well, actually much the same as a regular solar panel system does – the sun’s energy is converted into electricity, which is stored in the solar panel system’s backup battery. This stored up energy is then only accessed when there is a power outage.   At Soventix, we design customised backup power kits to meet the specific needs of each of our clients. Our backup power kits are made up of batteries and/or generators that offer sufficient power to run a few essential appliances during load shedding hours – just what you need to get you through those few hours of scheduled darkness!  Soventix, a Western Cape-based business that specialises in the building and operating of solar farms in sub-Saharan Africa, can assist you with all of your solar backup power needs. For more information and advice on using solar power with a backup battery kit as an alternative energy source during load shedding, feel free to contact our team today. We can bring light back into your life…so to speak!

How to Become a Distributor of Small-Scale Renewable Embedded Generation   If you have heard of the potential for net metering in South Africa, then you have heard of small-scale renewable embedded generation and what it can do for our energy crises in the country. There certainly are no illusions when it comes to Eskom’s ability to serve the nation and with the country being on high alert so often – and with load shedding happening more often than not – net metering has become a practical option to consider. With every opportunity comes the potential for mismanagement and abuse of the system…and with this in mind, a regulatory framework for distributors must be set in place if net metering is ever to work in South Africa.   How will net metering work?   Homes and businesses can attach a rooftop PV system to their building, which works off solar panel systems. These systems are designed to transfer any excess energy generated to the national grid in return for incentives in the form of reduced rates and rebates. In terms of the regulatory framework for distributors, those who become distributors of net metering can only generate a certain amount of power to be sold to the system – this means that no household can generate more power than they consume.   Why is net metering becoming such a popular option for households nationwide?   Eskom has announced a potential 13% increase in rates from April this year, which will surely affect thousands of households negatively when it comes to finances. At least with a net metering system in place, money can be saved, the national grid can be better supplied and, hopefully, the country will no longer be plunged into nights of darkness and days of no electricity (which can seriously deplete productivity within business environments). The National Energy Regulator has proposed that net metering in South Africa is measured in kilowatt hours instead of in Rands.   How can Soventix help you to become a net metering distributor?   Simply let us know your intent and we will assist you with your application. We will ensure that you are provided with as much information as possible regarding small-scale renewable embedded generation and how you can get actively involved. Contact us via email or telephone for more information and advice today.  
An Effective Way to Save on the Cost of Diesel. During load shedding times, it’s quite convenient to have a generator or some sort of backup power so that you aren’t left in the dark. Unfortunately, the cost of diesel can also be quite high, especially if you need to make use of your backup power on a regular basis. As a result – and because of fuel price increases – you will need to think of ways in which to save on the cost of diesel consumption too. If you want to save a few pennies during load shedding, it’s best to look into solar PV diesel hybrid solutions. If you have not yet encountered such a system, take a closer look at how they work and what they have to offer.   Solar PV diesel hybrid solutions typically consist of these components:  
  • PV system
  • Diesel gensets
  • Intelligent management
  The intelligent management components ensure that only the required amount of solar energy is fed to the system when it is required. These systems are very useful in areas that experience regular load shedding. During load shedding, or when there is a power failure, the energy from the solar plant is used. The diesel gensets are then tasked to ensure that the difference between the solar output and the load is generated efficiently.   This particular type of system can benefit you in the following ways:  
  • Minimise fuel consumption in order to reduce fuel costs.
  • CO2 emissions are minimised.
  • The solar PV will replace energy used from the grid and reduce overall energy consumption as a result.
  At Soventix, we understand just how important it is to have a reliable backup power system that can operate effectively and affordably. We encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss the various solar PV diesel hybrid solutions that are available to you. Contact us via email or telephone at your earliest convenience.  

Yingli Solar Panels – Solar Power is the Way of the Future for South Africa   In South Africa, the energy crisis is real. Every household and business is affected by disruption due to load shedding and there seems to be no end in sight of powerless days and nights of darkness. Those who are thinking proactively and trying to do their bit to reduce the draw on the national grid have opted to convert their homes’ and businesses’ power supplies to solar energy. Consumers have long since realised that converting to solar power requires more than just the average solar system. Durable, reliable and top-quality systems are required, as solar power is no longer seen as a backup energy source. It is seen as a main energy source and as such, is a long-term investment. One particular manufacturer of solar panels, Yingli, has presented solar panel systems to the market that have far surpassed others in its category. As such, it is strongly felt that Yingli solar panels too are the way of the future for South Africa.   The many achievements of Yingli as a brand and supplier of leading solar panels
  • Yingli is ranked as the world’s number one PV module supplier in terms of shipment volume.
  • Yingli is also ranked as the number one Brand Consumer Choice for 2013 in a recent IHS international survey.
  • Yingli is known to have the highest certifications needed and exceeded by industry requirements.
  • Yingli is ranked second in the highest efficiency panel TÜV Rheinland Energy Yield Test.
  • Yingli was an official sponsor for both the South African and Brazilian 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer events.
  The Environmental Benefits of Yingli Solar Panels   Those who have encountered Yingli have simply been impressed by the various environmental benefits that the range has to offer. The sheer volume of Yingli solar panels alone is able to offset 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide. They can also offset the carbon emissions of 1 million cars and this can amount to the benefits of planting 340 million trees. With dedication to the cause, Yingli has also already exceeded its 2015 greenhouse gas emissions targets (WWF).   Yingli Solar Panels are Readily Available   Consumers seeking out a reliable and affordable solar panel system will certainly be making a sound investment when choosing Yingli. At Soventix, we stock and distribute a range of Yingli solar panels and welcome you to contact us to learn more about solar power and how to convert your home or business.

Majority of today’s population are aware of the benefits of creating an energy saving home through solar power systems. A fast growing amount of homes are becoming interested in solar panels and realise that solar power has a positive impact on the environment as well as their monthly bills. There are few investments you can make to your household that in the long term has a financial benefit to you and your family and the world around you.   The greatest benefit to oneself is a large amount of monthly savings on utility bills. Households that cater for large families will see an improvement instantly, as all electrical power appliances can now run off of solar power, where the only cost to the earth is everyday sunlight. Creating an energy efficient home means that you don’t have to worry about the cost of running a household that is reliant on electrical appliances. Using solar power will allow you to do everything within your daily routine and more for a fraction of the cost. The amount of solar power generated by residential solar panels will exceed your monthly needs, eliminating the fear of power cuts and unexpected bills.   The simplicity of installing solar panels and maintenance is by far an added advantage. The solar panels are traditionally placed on your roof which is where the maximum amount of sunlight can be obtained as well as being out of eye view which does not damage the aesthetic appearance of your house. Solar panels are designed to be outside and built to face all types of weather and protected from the worst of storms. If damage does occur it is easy to repair and often you don’t need to do anything at all. Overall simplicity ensures reliability, easy to maintain and the majority of solar panel systems have a long life span as there are no moving parts. Household solar panels can operate for more than 25 years without fail.   Because there is no impact on the environment, creating a green home with solar power means that you are contributing to the planet's future and health locally and worldwide. Solar panels cause no damage to our landscape and unlike electrical plants which often puff out smoke and are harmful to the surrounding areas; your solar panels will do the complete opposite.   Living in South Africa we have an abundance of sunlight on a regular basis; however when the sun doesn't shine the solar panels are still capable of absorbing sunlight, although at a lower rate. This should not worry you as when it is sunny your solar energy is stored for days like this. Your household will not have to worry about a lack of power or never having any electricity as solar panels solve majority of problems around an unstable power source with great benefits of saving money for yourself and your family.
Solar power is becoming one of the most relevant solutions to our planets eminent global warming crisis. The use of solar power within our own homes, industrial sector and not to forget agriculture could in the long term be the solution to stopping global warming which threatens the survival of the human society.  We now have decades, some say centuries, of solar power research under our belts and we have found an efficient solar panel system that in turn creates electricity without the unwanted pollution.   The use of solar power not only protects our planet but protects our wallets. The estimated cost of global warming is projected to escalate over trillions of rands over the coming years, leaving the very realistic fact that ignoring the long term threat of global warming will leave a massive dent on our funds as well as our world. Over the years fighting global warming with the use of solar power through utilising residential, agricultural and industrial solar systems, we could save society millions if not billions of rands in the future. The use of an efficient solar panel system within our own homes can save us a large sum of money within a short time.   We all want a reliable energy source and constant power. With the current Eskom load shedding that is affecting us all, has become a national public frustration and visible among social media platforms and everyday conversation. Not only is it an inconvenience to the average South African but it is also a fear for our safety as street lights, robots and home security systems all go dark. In January 2015 Eskom revealed that we can expect load shedding to occur nationwide on 70% of most days over the next three months, in turn causing massive effects in South Africa’s economy.   The solution to our electricity problem is very simple. A reliable energy source that does not cost the earth. Solar power and solar systems are an efficient and reliable energy source. South Africa offers constant sunlight, with the rising and the setting of the sun being stable, although clouds may occur and be less predictable. South Africa offers a fairly good seasonal projection for the amount of sunlight we receive yearly, making solar power an extremely reliable energy source.   Adding to the benefit of being a reliable energy source, it is a well-known fact that no one can buy the sun or sunlight, eliminating turning sunlight into a monopoly, making it “free” to use. Solar power provides energy security, something which many nations have been putting into place for years. With government adding monetary benefits for home owners implementing solar power into their homes, hopefully this is a trend that will soon reach South Africa.  
Currently we rely heavily on fossil fuels mainly, coal, oil and natural gas for energy. Fossil fuels are not sources of renewable energy due to the fact that there is not an infinite source of these fuels. In time fossil fuels will disappear and become increasingly more expensive and damage the environment further. Climate change is already happening and as much as we cannot reverse the damage, we can stop it. In contrast to fossil fuels we have many types of renewable energy at our fingertips. These sources are constant and will never run out, making them reliable sources of renewable energy.
  • Sunlight
  • Wind
  • Water

Sunlight

Majority of our renewable energy comes from the sun. Sunlight is the source for solar energy and can be used to heat homes, water and being the main source to generate solar electricity. Hot water heating systems and solar cooling can be used in industries beyond the everyday household.  

Wind

The suns heat drives the winds, a source of renewable energy that is captured with wind turbines. Together the wind and the sun cause evaporation. Once the vapor turns into water, or rain and snow, it flows down into rivers and seas. This power can be captured through the use of hydroelectric power. This is another reliable source of renewable energy that is on our doorstep.   As we all know the partnership of rain and sunlight causes plants to grow. This organic matter that makes the plant is known as biomass that can also be used to generate electricity as well as transport fuels or chemicals. The use of biomass as a renewable energy source is called bioenergy.  

Water

Hydrogen is another compound that can be found in organic mass and water. The most abundant element on earth currently is hydrogen. However, it does not occur naturally as a gas. Hydrogen is often combined with other elements, mostly known as oxygen, which combined with hydrogen makes water. Once we separate hydrogen from other elements it can be burned as fuel or converted into electricity. Hydrogen is a major component to the different types of renewable energy.   As you can see, not all renewable energy sources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps into the earth’s internal heat for a vast variety of renewable energy uses. One of the renewable energy resources that geothermal energy can offer is electric power production, and the cooling and heating of buildings.   Our oceans offer a great source for renewable energy. The oceans tides come from the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. This is why when there is a full moon the tides are very high. Ocean energy comes from a variety of sources. Tidal energy is becoming a common source of renewable energy. The oceans waves offer an energy that is driven by the tides and the winds. The sun warms the surface of the ocean and creates a temperature difference that can also be used as a renewable energy source. All forms of ocean energy can be produced into renewable electrical energy.   Contact us here to to find out how you can invest in solar power.

Agricultural areas receive an abundance of sunlight, thus they make fantastic sites for solar power. Masses of unused land is ideal for large solar systems that can off set the burden of a high electricity consumption. Farmers can design agricultural buildings to utilize sunlight rather than using electrical lighting as a light resource. Dairy farms are prime examples of this and make use of electrical lighting all day. Instead they can save money by using well-positioned skylights and solar powered lighting. This is applicable to multiple livestock buildings, which can make use of solar powered lighting by installing solar panels and natural daylight through skylights.   In confined livestock spaces fresh air is critical. A steady supply of fresh air through electrical ventilating systems that maintains animal health can result in large electrical bills. Using solar power heating and cooling systems can overall save fuel and money while keeping the livestock cool or warm during the seasons. Cleaning livestock areas with hot water can again be costly for farms. A low to medium water temperature to clean livestock areas can be provided through solar power water heaters. Again, dairy operations can use the same solar power heated water to warm and stimulate cows udders and clean the equipment.   Using the sun to dry crops is one of the oldest uses of sunlight in agriculture. Traditionally crops were dried outside or on racks in a shed, where they were susceptible to the elements and pests. Using a solar powered drying system within an agricultural building will allow crops to dry faster and evenly. They will also avoid damage from changing weather, as the temperature is constant through the use of a solar powered fan or convection. This will allow farmers to dry crops in any weather condition while saving money and being extremely effective.   The use of greenhouses to grow vegetables or flowers is a common practice, as the core temperature can be maintained and adjusted. The added benefit is that the vegetation is protected from wildlife, weather changes and pollution. Traditionally commercial greenhouses rely on the sun for everyday lighting and oil or gas heaters to maintain a core heat. A solar powered greenhouse that makes use of building materials to store solar power for energy and correct insulation can be more effective.
In an era of ever-increasing concerns over the climate change, not to mention the constant threat of load shedding, forward-thinking companies are seeking solutions to save electricity, minimise their carbon footprint, and increase their bottom-line while they’re at it! Consider the following five easy steps for turning your office into a green workplace.
 

1. Create a battalion of environmental warriors

 
Start by asking for volunteers to form a team that can help implement your upcoming green policies. Employees have been shown to be more likely to participate in new initiatives if they are stakeholders in the outcome. You could offer incentives for participation, such as a small percentage of the saved energy costs resulting from your new eco-friendly approach, or you could treat the team to a local, organic lunch.
 

2. Let there be light

 
Open the blinds! Natural daylight not only saves electricity, but also improves the mental and physical state of your employees (so less sick days). Where artificial light is the only option, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (which use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times as long). You can also invest in LED desk lamps, which use even less power than compact fluorescent lights.
 

3. Standby power - banish the phantom menace

Phantom power (standby power) consumes a huge amount of electricity. The key way to defeat this culprit in surging energy usage and costs is to ensure that unnecessary or unused devices are both switched off, and unplugged. Even a computer that has been switched off continues to consume energy, so encourage employees to not only power down, but also unplug at the end of their work days. To make this process easier, plug all devices into a power strip with an on-off switch, or invest in smart strips which cut off extra power when they sense the device is shut down. There are also programs, like Surveyor, which automatically power down company computers at night. This not only saves on electricity, but can also help your hardware – the old myth of damaging computers by switching them on and off is just that: a myth.
 

4. Save paper - go out-of-print

 
Moving towards a paperless office not only saves the trees, but saves on printing costs. Digitize your office by eliminating all unnecessary printing. Send emails of meeting agendas and minutes rather than printing them out; use instant messaging for memos; send e-statements wherever possible; save your files to the cloud or an external hard-drive… and save the wasted space where your bulky file cabinets once stood. Where printing is essential, you can also choose some greener options: use refillable ink cartridges; buy recycled paper; set your default printer settings to double-sided, and print in draft mode wherever possible.
 

5. Breathe green air

 
Literally make your workplace a green office. Indoor plants not only absorb airborne pollutants, emit healthy negative ions and increase oxygen, but they contribute to the physical and psychological health of your employees, making them happier, healthier and more productive. By planting trees in the space outside of your building, you can also cut cooling costs as the temperature drops between 3 to 6 degrees.

The concerned home owner should reduce their carbon emissions long before tackling the idea of running carbon neutral homes. This is because Carbon Neutral refers to the household’s overall carbon footprint balancing out to zero. At a glance this is an attractive ideal: having little or no negative impact on the environment. The problem is that most of us have being living on the planet for some time; driving cars, using public transport, cooking, cleaning, running air conditioners, heating water, using electricity, and so much more. Therefore, given the needs of living a modern life most of us are already deeply in debt with respect to clawing our way into being a truly carbon neutral home.
 

The Carbon Neutral Problem: How much in debt are we?

 
The problem is that it is unclear how much carbon based energy has been used in your life to date. So this list is merely the tip of the potential iceberg in determining our extended carbon footprint.
  • How much fossil fuel energy was used in transporting the materials for your home?
  • How much fossil fuel energy (electricity) was used in making the materials for your home?
  • How much petrol have you used in going to the shops?
  • How much energy was used in producing and transporting the goods you buy?
  • How much electricity (made by burning fossil fuels) has your household used up until now?
Unless you’re participating in something like the Zero Carbon House Project, then the net zero required for a true carbon neutral home might be an impractical goal. This project tracks the embodied carbon use of the home from construction through to living. Fortunately, the solution is wonderfully simple… don’t bother with carbon neutrality and instead focus on reducing carbon emissions.
 

Reducing Carbon Emissions: It really is easy.

 
There is a lot of good information about reducing your carbon footprint that does not involve uprooting your life and rebuilding it from the ground up. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start.
  • Install photovoltaic solar panels. This reduces your dependence on fossil fuels and Eskom.
  • Use less hot water, and insulate your geyser.
  • Unplug electronics not in use. They often draw power simply by being plugged in.
  • Buy locally grown fresh foods. This reduces the costs of transport in your products.
  • Grow your own herbs and vegetables.
  • Avoid heavily packaged products.
  • Carpool and keep your car well maintained.
  • Eat less beef. Cows emit the greenhouse gas methane.
This alone will significantly reduce your carbon emissions, and collectively put us on the right path towards a sustainable carbon future. Also many of these are a feature living in the Zero Carbon House, and should not impact much on quality of life.
 
The important thing is to focus on the practical changes that we can make in our day-to-day lives over auditing every detail of our household’s history. For most of us living a carbon neutral life is beyond our scope to measure, this does not mean we’re helpless. Far from it… we can reduce our dependence on carbon based energy with a few small changes.
 
For those ready to make a large change in the direction of carbon neutral, contact Soventix for a quote for a home solar panel power system.

More and more of the Cape’s wine farms are embracing solar-powered, renewable energy sources in the drive to reduce their carbon footprint, and increase their bottom-line while they’re at it. The Vrede en Lust winery, in the stunning Franschhoek wine valley, stands at the forefront of this paradigm shift away from conventional (fossil fuel) energy consumption.
 

Freedom from the grid and a lust for all living things

 
Vrede en Lust has installed a massive 220 kVA solar-power generating system, which has not only furthered their aims to become a carbon neutral winery, but is also the first project to be approved under Eskom’s rebate scheme for small-scale renewable energy. This forward thinking philosophy, guided by the passions of general manager and viticulturalist, Etienne Buys, serves multiple goals at the same time:
  • Drastically reducing energy costs;
  • Less reliance on an unpredictable national power supply
  • Demonstrating a corporate responsibility towards the environment
  • Increasing consumer faith in their product.
Over its 30 year life span, this solar photovoltaic system will save more than 11 000 tons of carbon dioxide, fifteen million litres of water, 6 200 tons of coal and nearly 2000 tons of ash.
 

Why now is the time to go solar

 
Despite farmers’ concerns over the capital costs involved in turning to renewable energy, there has been a demonstrated return on investment of less than eight years. A 2014 Report by the Global Commission  on the Economy and Climate found that renewable energy sources have rapidly emerged as large-scale, and economically viable, alternatives to fossil fuels. There are three main reasons why renewable energy is fast becoming cheaper than conventional energy:
  1. A reduction in solar photovoltaic system costs
  2. Increased efficiency in the private sector
  3. Increasing operating and maintenance costs of coal-fired energy sources
Added to the cost-saving implications of solar power are the mounting benefits of moving away from an increasingly unstable power grid, ensuring protection from higher-than-inflation increases in energy costs as well as from dreaded power outages.
 

Environmental benefits of solar power

 
Climate change is not a myth perpetuated by the scientific community to destroy capitalist ventures: it is an ever-increasing and recognised environmental risk to sustainable development. Solar power produces approximately zero greenhouse gas emissions. Solar power has no noticeable air or water pollution emissions. The sun provides a vast and constantly replenished energy source, meaning that investing in solar power on your farm will bear fruit for generations to come. Three steps to becoming more carbon neutral on your wine farm
  1. Decrease your farm’s reliance on conventional energy sources through making a long-term investment in a solar photovoltaic power system
  2. Source from local manufacturers and industries to reduce transport and installation costs
  3. Investigate Eskom’s rebate scheme for renewable energy technologies and put spare power back into the grid.
 

The future of wine farms

 
Join the ever-growing group of Cape wine farms, spearheaded by the Vrede en Lust winery, as they reap both the environmental and financial rewards of the renewable energy revolution! Contact Soventix for an assessment and quote today.

South Africans, in general, are pretty unfamiliar with solar power systems. Whilst there is a lot of interest around the concept of solar power, many are simply unaware of how it works and therefore sceptical about embracing it. If you are thinking of going green but aren’t sure if it will suit your needs, you need to read on.  

1. It’s important to realise that with solar power you will never run out of electricity.

  That is becausesolar power is a renewable energy source. Meaning that as long as there is a Sun, you will have electricity.   Solar power systems work by absorbing energy from the Sun during the day. The energy is converted from DC to AC and distributed throughout the house. If more energy is produced than used, your backup battery (if you have one) will be charged. There are also murmurings that you will be able to export excess energy into the national power grid in the future.  

2. You will always have electricity to supply your energy demands.

  There tends to be a misconception that during the rainy season or at nightyou will be left in the dark. This, of course, is not true.  During a power outage and/or at night you have battery power that supplies your energy needs, if you have a system with battery storage.  If a power outage takes place during the day, you make use of the power generated from your solar panels.   Even if you only produce a percentage of what you use, the system automatically draws your remaining energy requirements from the national grid.  

3. Solar power systems are easy to maintain.

  They don’t have a lot of moving parts and as a result require minimal maintenance. The only effort required from your part is to ensure that the panels stay clean. A dirty surface can hinder its effectiveness.  

4. The development of aesthetically pleasing solar panels and shingles has created a residential solar power system boom.

  Where aesthetics used to be an afterthought, solar power installations are becoming intertwined with roofing and construction industries. New developments allow for panels to be seamlessly integrated into the house’s architecture.  

5. Eventually your solar power system will pay for itself.

  How long this will take obviously depends on the system’s size. The larger the system, the larger the savings will be in the long run. It’s important to understand that solar power is a long-term investment rather than a short-term solution. On average, installations pay for themselves within five to eight years.  

6. Systems typically last between 20 – 25 years.

  If a system is properly installed and well looked after it could last longer.  

7. It doesn’t take long to have a solar power system installed.

  Depending on the size of the system you wish to have installed, it should take a day or two. The larger systems require multiple panels to be installed, which obviously takes more time. If you aren’t sure about the size of the solar panels you’ll require, or what type of system to install, contact Soventix. That way you’ll be sure to get the best advice on the size and type of solar power system that will best suit your energy  requirements.

For decades solar energy was seen as being too expensive. But the cost of solar-generated power has been steadily coming down whilst production costs of conventional electricity have risen.   This is mainly due to two things. Firstly, the advances in solar cell technology and secondly, the development of storage technology. This has allowed for solar energy to be more readily available to consumers and become a real alternative to conventional grid power.  

Development in solar cell technology

Development and research in solar cells have been going on for decades. Yet, solar power has remained a novelty due to the inefficiency of these cells turning sunlight into electricity.   A solar panel can be seen as a collection of solar cells. A single cell does not have the capacity to generate a large amount of electricity. Therefore, multiple cells are connected to increase the capacity. This cell consists of a thin silver film on a semiconductor layer deposited on an iron substrate.   On-going research in the field has yielded fantastic results. Ever more efficient and versatile forms of the solar cells mean more efficient energy conversions. A recent breakthrough based on edible salt used in tofu could revolutionise the production of next-generation solar panels, making them even less expensive, more flexible, more efficient and easier to use.  

Revival of storage technology

Just as great strides have been made with solar panel research, developments in storage have also made solar energy a more attractive option to conventional electricity.   Since the 1970s, when solar power systems started to gain traction, they used to be off-the-grid systems. Meaning that they were in no way connected to the power grid, but used lead-acid batteries in order to store excess electricity.   As these systems gained popularity, governments realised that they had to take action. They implemented laws and policies making the tying of solar power systems to power grids more attractive. Over the last decade, battery storage went from an integral part of solar power systems to marginal technology. But battery development and off-the-grid systems are making a comeback.   With power storage gaining popularity and lithium ion batteries becoming cheaper and more abundant, installers and consumers realise that tying systems to batteries will be more cost effective. This has lead to recent developments by TESLA turning the industry on its head.   Their new wall-mounted battery, Powerwall, will be able to store energy that is collected from solar panels and garden wind turbines. It will also be able to store electricity from the grid during off-peak hours to be used during peak daytime hours.   What makes it evolutionary is that it will skip the middleman by being sold directly to consumers at a much more affordable price than other lithium ion batteries. This move by TESLA is seen as a fuse being lit in the industry that will lead to competition among other suppliers. In turn, this will hopefully bring battery prices down.   Developments in solar cells and power storage over the last couple of decades mean increased conversion and storage efficiency. As technology becomes cheaper and competition drives prices down, consumers will get a lot more for less. Contact Soventix to see how photovoltaic solar electricity can work for your home or business.

It is widely acknowledged that agriculture is adversely affected by climate change. Yet, the role agriculture plays in the exacerbation of global warming can’t be denied. It contributes 50% of global methane (CH4) emissions and 60% of global nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, two of the most potent greenhouse gases.   The energy needs within agriculture are primarily for the following end means:
  • Preparing land
  • Irrigating land
  • Applying nutrients
  • Applying pesticides and herbicides
  • Transport
  Incorporating low carbon technologies and techniques into farming practices can reduce emissions into the atmosphere and lower their effects on climate change.  

1. Carbon footprint and tillage

  This age-old farming technique of using ploughs to prepare the land removes substantial quantities of carbon from the soil. These are then swept away as runoff and, as such, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and its carbon footprint.   Conservation tillage facilitates the retention of carbon in the soil, in the form of soil organic matter. This enhances soil structure and also makes it more resistant to drought and erosion. Another advantage is the improvement of the soil’s biological fertility, which makes it more resilient.  

2. Carbon footprint and irrigation

  As farmers are at risk of water shortages and increasing electricity costs, improving irrigation practices has the potential to simultaneously improve the carbon and water footprint of produce as well as reduce operation costs.   Making use of the correct irrigation system will lead to less water wastage and lower operating costs. This can be done by regularly testing soil moisture.   Implementing solar power rather than electricity or diesel to power pumps will also lower their production costs as well as their carbon footprint.  

3. Carbon footprint and organic fertiliser

  Excessive use of nitrogenous fertilizer has had a significant impact on climate change. Chemical fertilizer use over the past 50 years has produced a huge greenhouse gas burden through its manufacturing, transport and routine escape thereof into the atmosphere from agricultural fields.   Making use of organic fertilizer yields much better results and lower agriculture's carbon footprint. Results have shown that replacing part of chemical fertilizer with organic manure improves soil quality and crop yields, while decreasing greenhouse emissions.  

4. Carbon footprint and tree restoration

  Tree restoration is another important mitigation strategy that can benefit farmers while simultaneously enhancing carbon storage. According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the reduction or prevention of deforestation is the mitigation option with the largest and most immediate carbon stock impact in the short term.  

5. Carbon footprint and food miles

  This is the term that refers to the distance produce is transported from the time of production until it reaches the consumer. The bulk transport of produce with packaging or alternative packaging being performed at its destination will result in very significant reductions in fuel consumption and therefore lower the carbon footprint of the farmer.   For farmers with serious intentions to invest in reducing carbon footprint, solar power systems can greatly improve farm emissions while making use of an unlimited resource: sunlight. Contact Soventix for an assessment and quote for a photovoltaic solar power system.

Finally, it’s the weekend.   It’s been a long week, and as you open your front door the world goes dark. Unexpected load shedding hits. You stumble your way to where you think you last left the touch, only to discover that the batteries have gone flat. Your shins get bashed against some unknown object as you reach for the candles. Three singed fingers later, the candle wick catches.   Now imagine that all that is as distant as dial-up technology – that your world is powered by the brilliance of the African sun.   Load shedding no longer surprises us, we are irritated and at times unprepared – but it’s now as common as the insults thrown in parliament.  

The endless struggles of a world with unreliable energy are at an end

  Enter the luminescent world of solar technology – a world where solar power ensures constant energy and light. A world improved by smart, solar operated appliances. A world made cleaner through energy efficient solutions , which cater to your individual needs.  

No limits with solar power technology

  Imagine the freedom to play with the latest technological innovations without load shedding restrictions.   Solar power offers unique and specialised energy solutions for your home. Every-day energy is supplied seamlessly and easily through a wide range of services and products suited to your individual needs.   The growth of new technology has made our world easier and brighter – yet South Africa’s complete dependence upon unreliable coal and diesel based energy systems has crippled our simple pleasures.   Solar power energy alternatives use solar technology to power all appliances and beat the power-death caused by load shedding. One no longer needs to rely on load shedding schedules, gas powered stoves and generators to survive the unpredictable power cuts. Depending on your needs, solar power technology can provide solar power for the home – large or small.   The superb quality and specialised fitting makes each installation uniquely suited to your individual needs.  

Your space, your world

  Solar technology adapts to and fits a wide range of solar products. Imagine a home where your geyser, electrical supply, television and kitchen appliances are all run using cutting-edge solar technology.   Imagine never having to plug your cell-phone in to charge, your energy-draining air-conditioner running off the boundless energy created by solar power, and your personal security systems no longer vulnerable and reliant on conventional energy sources.   Designed to power your life, solar technology provides specialised power solutions for everyday technology - geysers, kettles, stoves, fridges, and sound systems.   As our day-today living depends on energy, turning to the alternate energy sources easily available within South Africa means that picking a tailor-made solar power solution package has become simple.   The wide range of solar products available are simply exciting and brimming with possibilities – imagine being able to turn on the TV, boil the kettle and cook the Sunday roast in the middle of a load shedding power-out.   Imagine indulging in an all-night movie marathon or hosting an intimate get-together without the niggling bother of scheduling your life around load shedding schedules.   Enter a new world – a world designed to make your home your idyllic space. No bother, no restrictions, ease and comfort – a way of life. Enter the Soventix world.

Eskom’s load shedding is reaching stage three on an almost daily basis, and it might be time to terminate your company’s reliance on their unreliable power. While going entirely off the grid might not be an immediate option, obtaining an office power source (or three) is an investment in the future of your business. There are multiple options to supplement your electrical needs, so we will stick to the basics.  

Generators as a temporary solution to load shedding

  These bulky machines have been the industry standard almost since the Industrial Revolution itself. While the capital expenditure on electrical generators (approximately R100 000) may be lower than installing photovoltaic solar panels or wind turbines, the running costs of generators should also be taken into consideration when planning how to replace reliance on the grid. They chew up about 5 litres of diesel per hour when running at a 75% load, so – with the rising costs of fossil fuels – a generator may only be a temporary solution.  

Renewable energy

  There are a number of options when looking at renewable energy sources, all of which promise a long term return on investment that far outweighs that of the ever-increasing costs of Eskom’s erratic power grid (or, indeed, of a generator). Photovoltaic solar panels are, by far, the most popular option – and for good reason. In a country like South Africa, where the skies tend to be clear and the sun shines in winter and summer alike, harnessing the infinite energy of the sun ensures a bright future.   The installation and maintenance of solar panels has also drastically reduced in price over the last few years, making it a viable alternative office power source. There are also other options in renewable energy, however, that can combine to move your company further off the grid.   Wind turbines are another source: they use the power of nature to add economic benefit to your business. While a 100 foot tall 10 kW turbine (which produces enough electricity to entirely power a household) might not be viable for your company, a seven foot turbine can produce 900-watts without turning your workplace into a windmill.   Microhydro electricity is also a cost-saving option as water power can produce 10 to 100 times more power than solar or wind power for the same capital investment – assuming you have the space for a stream on your grounds!  

A Hybrid solar system

  This option melds the best of both worlds: creating your own sustainable energy with solar panels, with a battery that can keep you going even when the sun goes down. Tesla Motors has created a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is designed to store energy for load shifting, backup power and consumption of self-generated solar power. This Tesla Powerwall harnesses excess power and allows for flexibility for solar electricity use – power generated while the sun shines can be used in times of darkness (a regular occurrence given load shedding).   This battery system can also be tied to the power grid, so that it collects power in times of low demand to use in peak hours – and given that Eskom is looking at introducing “Time of Use” tariffs, this could lead to electrifying savings in the long run!

There are a few hurdles which need to be cleared as well as requirements which have to be met before attaining Eskom’s rebate, but none are so lofty that a business should shy away from investing in renewable energy. Furthermore, being able to circumvent load shedding should be quite the driving force behind making this decision.   So what is the process that needs to be followed to make this happen? And is this something your business can look into doing?  

First step: Is Eskom's rebate scheme a good fit for your business?

  Before considering Eskom’s rebate, one needs to be aware that it is only applicable to those businesses which operate between certain hours on a weekday (6AM until 10PM – those times of the day when load reduction is needed). It is also important to note that Eskom won’t offer a rebate for any existing installations which a business might have.   Any energy solutions currently in place can’t be considered. There is also documentation which needs to be completed before a project can be considered.  

The numbers: Minimums, maximums, and the money in

  If a business does choose to participate and then sets up their own renewable energy solution, it is a requirement that they produce at least a minimum of 10kW (but less than 1MW) to be considered for the rebate scheme. Eskom then incentivises this generation by offering a rate of R1.20 per kWh created, which is then paid over the duration of the contract.  

What Eskom expects: Qualification considerations

  In terms of those renewable installations which qualify, Eskom notes that only equipment on the customer’s side of the meter will be eligible. These installations also need to be new as well as compliant with the relevant performance and safety standards. These systems should be freestanding and must also replace an existing grid connection so as to substitute energy that would have otherwise been drawn.  

Necessary steps to take before plugging in

  Any system a business ties into the grid in this manner must comply with specific requirements and, in some cases, a letter from the relevant authority or electricity utility will have to form part of the application process. Further, prior to implementing a project of this scope, businesses need to propose and have approved, the system which they have elected to use.   Further details on how to participate in this rebate scheme can be found either on the Eskom website or by making contact with one of their regional offices.

There are loads of ways to save electricity around the house that won’t end up costing you a thing. Load shedding might already be lightening your electricity bill but you’ll be able to reduce it even further with a few practical tips for around the house.  

1. Consider switching off to save

  When not in use, consider switching things off to save power. If you aren’t in the room, leave the lights off. The same goes for your appliances. TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, and sound systems should all be turned off when not in use. In some cases these might even need to be unplugged as they still consume electricity when switched off. Also, turning your geyser off and on can be handled via a timer, ensuring that water is only heated when needed.  

2. Waste not, want not – why you shouldn’t wait to insulate

  Geyser insulation is another option homeowners can look into. Once heated, your geyser’s temperature will drop over time. Electricity is then used to try and keep this temperature constant. If you can moderate the rate at which the geyser loses heat, you’ll take some control over how much electricity it uses. So insulating your geyser by keeping it covered using either a geyser blanket, heavy-duty aluminium foil or a run-of-the-mill household blanket can help cut your energy use.  

3. How much electricity are you sinking into your pool?

  Keeping a clean swimming pool can be quite taxing because pumps and filters are hefty contributors to your monthly electricity consumption. However, by reducing the running time on these devices, you can eventually figure out how long they need to operate to keep your pool looking clean. You can further cut down on how much time is needed by investing in a pool cover or simply by cleaning the pool filter more regularly.  

4. Hot or not? – Wizening up with water

  Monitoring hot water usage is another way to reduce your electricity bill. If you’re shaving, rather fill the basin as opposed to leaving a tap running. The same can be said when it comes to washing up. Rather wash items in a filled sink as opposed to cleaning them one by one. Also, although it might be a bit chilly, our hands can be washed with cold water.  

5. Sometimes saving is about having a good head on your shoulders showers

  A short shower always beats a bath, both in terms of electricity and water consumption. This usage can be curbed further simply by changing out one showerhead for another more efficient one. An economical showerhead means you’ll be using less water per shower and, thus, less electricity to heat the water you’re using.   All of us as homeowners can take some control over our monthly electricity bills if we’re a bit more savvy with the energy we’re already using.

Remember the days of rolling black-outs? Of our righteous indignation when we were suddenly left without a source of power? Then, we got used to the power cuts and started planning our days around the load shedding schedules, now quietly grumbling, instead of indignant.   Through all this, our businesses, hospitals, telecommunications and schools are held hostage by the broken promises given to us by our conventional energy provider. Despite all this, South Africans have not seen the last of load shedding.  

An intelligent future

  Relying on an unpredictable service does not make good business-sense. Neither does existing without a source of power – warmth, food and utilities, all require energy to function.   Intelligence is using an energy source to supply constant, clean and sustainable energy. Solar panels and solar appliances are technologies which provide energy at a lower cost than traditional diesel and coal based energy sources.   Renewable energy through solar power further reduces pressure on the environment - the emissions produced by coal and diesel damage the environment, as does the waste of water needed for traditional power production.   Not only does renewable energy provide a sensible and sustainable solution to the energy crisis – it promotes and creates new economic opportunities.   Soventix solar energy operates internationally – through their excellent and practical knowledge and installation, the dream of a load shedding-free world can be realised – a world without the influence or factors which prolong the state of load shedding.  

Disasters of the past

  An untold number of factors have caused load shedding in South Africa – these have ranged from the logical to the bizarre. Eskom has blamed the energy crisis on everything from poor maintenance, to a lack of funds, to varying weather conditions.   For nine years, South Africans have been subjected to the instability of load shedding. Despite the over-burdened power plants, the neglected maintenance, reliance on coal and diesel to produce energy and the hot or cold weather – South Africans remain hopeful.   This hope is because a brighter, cleaner and greener energy has become easily available. The innovation of solar energy technology promises the end of load shedding.  

You decide

  Dare to imagine a future where you can generate and maintain your own power, where nothing is left to chance or unpredictable power cuts. End load shedding and invest in sustainable power. Soventix offers a variety of energy solutions suited to your specific needs.   Renewable energy offers a variety of solutions to end load shedding. The wide range of services and applications available cater for all of your residential, industrial, agricultural and utility needs.   Regardless of how large or small your need for energy, the versatility of solar power is suitable across all sectors and applications and promises an end to load shedding.   Depending on your solar energy needs, Soventix can connect you to the world of greener, cleaner energy. Solar generated energy provides endless power, a power source which only increases over time.  Dare to imagine your home and business connected to a power source that does not depend on conventional and out-dated forms of power. A source, installed and maintained by industry experts.  

Forward-thinking

  Invest in your future. Invest in solar powered energy, and enter a greener, cleaner world of energy. Discover one of the smartest decisions you will ever make.   There is no foreseeable end to load shedding, the unreliability of the current power situation means that in order for your personal needs, business success, and agricultural adventures to succeed – you need reliable, sustainable energy.   Participate in South Africa’s initiative to provide solutions to end load shedding.

Friends and family living in Australia or somewhere in Europe often tell stories of how they save money on electricity by selling it back to the power supplier. With South Africa’s energy crisis, why can’t we sell electricity back to Eskom?   Cape Town has started experimenting with independent energy producers selling back into the grid, but it is nowhere near as generous as other countries  

How is this done in overseas?

We aren’t going to get bogged down in technicalities, but quite simply it comes down to generous Feed-In-Tariffs.   National energy suppliers are forced to pay households for electricity produced and not used. Effectively buying excess electricity from them.   In 2010 this produced a boom in the use of green energy amongst homeowners in England as they realised that they could not only save money with solar energy, but make money as well.  

Why is Eskom not doing this?

Unfortunately we have to get a bit technical here. South African society is very different to that of Australia and Europe and we have unique challenges to overcome.   High end users are subsidising poorer users. They are also the ones that will be able to afford more advanced solar systems and ultimately use much less electricity as they sell it back to Eskom.   This will have the unfortunate result that the poorer households will have to pay more for their power and result in a situation where the poor households among us will have to subsidise the rich.   Eskom can’t afford high end users to go off the grid. The reason for this is quite obvious. The less electricity they sell, the less money they will have to upgrade and repair their ailing infrastructure.   Municipalities need electricity sales to provide the necessary services. They act as the middle-man by buying electricity in bulk and then selling it to residential, business and industrial customers.   This income is then used to perform necessary services. During the 2012-13 financial year electricity sales were 30% of total municipal income. This amounts to R77.2 bn of a total income of R258bn. Most municipalities are dependant on electricity sales.  

Cape Town's Ground Breaking Program

In Cape Town they have instigated a program where anyone can become an independent energy supplier. With all the legal constraints though, Cape Town has had to create their own rules and regulations.Therefore there are still a couple of silly things that makes it difficult for the average person to attempt becoming an independent power supplier.   As an example, you have to be a net user. In other words use more electricity than you sell. Secondly, you have to get a bidirectional meter installed. The municipality will install it, but you still have to buy it. There is also a R13.03 daily fee in order to sell electricity to Eskom.   These requirements might seem rough, but at least it is a step in the right direction.  

Can it be done?

As long as it is up to Eskom, probably not. So lets hope that other municipalities follow in the proactive steps as Cape Town and attempt to make it possible for homeowners to sell electricity back to the grid by offering them incentives like Feed-In-Tariffs.   If you are interested in solar power installations for your home or business, complete our contact form and we’d be happy to look at the best solutions for you

The water of the world’s oceans is always in motion. Without being interrupted, waves constantly break at the coastline, sometimes strong, sometimes weaker. There is an enormous energy potential that is available around the clock and free of charge. The potential for wave energy is huge and the drive to harness the power of the waves is gaining momentum.   The energy potential that wave power possesses is estimated to be around 11, 4400 TWh per year. Its sustainable potential is estimated to be around 1,700 TWh. This comes down to about 10 per cent of global energy requirement.   Because of the fact that few large-scale projects have been able to get off the ground, there has not been one specific design that is seen by engineers as optimal for harnessing the power of the oceans and subsequently many designs are still being experimented with. Most of the different concepts can be classified into three categories.  

The Oscillating Water Column

This ingenious design to harness wave energy is normally situated on the coast or is fixed offshore. It consists of an enclosed chamber with an opening beneath sea level. Wave action causes water to move up and down within the chamber. This causes air to be displaced and escape through an opening in the roof. The escaping air turns a turbine that is placed within the hole and consequently generates power.   Oscillating water column pilot plants have recently been set up in Portugal, Scotland and Japan.  

The Oscillating Bodies

These types of facilities are usually found offshore and utilize the movement of the ocean by means of a semi-submerged generator on which a fixed counter bearing moves sideways or up and down.   Other systems are made up of flexible mounted components that float on the water to harness wave energy. These components push against each other as they move over the waves putting hydraulic oil under pressure. The pressurised oil in turn drives a turbine, generating electricity.   The most well known of these systems is the Scottish developed “Palemis” system. The “Palemis” consists of four train coach sized cylinders strung together by hydraulic joints giving it snake-like characteristics.  

Overtopping

Overtopping devices work on the same principles as hydroelectric dams but are situated offshore. Similar to a hydrodam these devices have a reservoir that is filled up with water as the waves break over the sides. The reservoir is filled up to levels above the surrounding ocean. The water falling back to the ocean drives a turbine that in turn generates energy.  

Future of Wave energy

To be able to harness wave energy at a cost competitive level to that of fossil fuels have been extremely difficult. A coal powered station can produce power 24 hours a day. Wave farms are dependent on the ocean and when the seas are calm, these farms aren’t efficient.   It is still early days though and there is a lot of energy and resources being pushed into wave energy. We would just have to wait and see. There are still interesting times ahead.   For more information about the installation of solar panels for your home, business or farm complete the content form located here.

When most people think of solar cookers they picture a flimsy cardboard box lined with tin foil and half cooked chicken. Those days are long gone. Solar cookers can perform any task that a conventional oven can. They can roast meat, steam vegetables and bake bread, all this by making use of solar energy. Some are as powerful and even more expensive than conventional ovens. Here are five things you didn’t know about solar cookers.  

1. Anything you can do I can do

Different kinds of solar cookers require different cooking methods. Depending on the weather, high performing parabolic cookers can generate heat of up to 400 degrees. This means that they can cook steaks within minutes and boil water as fast as a kettle.  

2. So many to solar cookers to choose from

Just like the name suggests, the box and panel designs are box shaped with a glass or transparent plastic lid. Panels reflect sunlight into the box where it heats up the pots or pans while the lid keeps heat inside like a greenhouse. These designs can generate heat of up to 150 degrees.   Parabolic cookers work by concentrating solar energy onto a single point like the bottom of a pot, pan or kettle. This concentration of energy causes pots or pans to heat up very quickly to temperatures that are comparable to that of gas or coal grills.   Paraboloidal cookers work as well if not better than conventional stoves. They generate high temperatures and cook quickly. Unfortunately they are very difficult to construct and as a result they are more expensive to create than parabolic cookers.   [caption width="301" align="alignright"]Paraboloidal solar cooker. Paraboloidal solar cooker boiling a kettle in Tibet.[/caption]  

3. Oh so friendly

There are some parabolic projects in China that reduce carbon emissions by one to four tons per year.   Another advantage is that 2.5 Billion people around the world cook on open fires. That is a whole lot of biofuel, mostly wood, being used. Solar cookers can therefore contribute quite significantly to lessen desertification and deforestation.   [caption width="300" align="alignnone"]Beijing Smog. Beijing Smog.[/caption]  

4. Already widely used

Solar cookers are already popular around the world. In China and India hundreds of thousands of families use them to prepare meals and heat water every day.   They are also becoming more popular at camping spots where solar cookers are being installed.   [caption width="300" align="alignnone"]Shirdi Sai temple , India Shirdi Sai temple , India[/caption]  

5. One cooker can literally feed hundreds

India has the largest solar cooking systems in the world. At the temple of Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh the solar kitchen has the capability to serve 15 000 pilgrims a day.   An even larger system at the shrine of the 19th century saint Sai Baba can feed up to 20 000 people a day.   For more information about solar energy fill in the contact form here.

South Africa has very good solar and wind resources yet the development of renewable energy has been slow to take off. It is amazing how many people want to embrace renewable energy by creating green offices and homes, but they have no idea where to start. Whether your end goal is to help conserve the environment, become carbon neutral or save energy, here are a ten tips to get you started.  

Recycle

This might seem like the most obvious place to start, but unfortunately South Africans don’t have a recycling mindset. On top of that many municipalities don’t have the infrastructure geared towards recycling.   So why is it important to recycle?
  • Waste items could become economic resources and open the door for new industries if channeled in the right direction.
  • It could save households and complexes money.
  • Less waste on landfills means less methane and other greenhouse gasses being emitted.

Put your lights on timers

Even if we go out of our way to be as responsible as possible, we all forget the lights on every now and then. It is a good idea to purchase some timers and program them to go on at the most appropriate time. This way you could save a lot of energy.  

Keep a garden

Keeping a garden and growing your own herbs and vegetables will help you save money as well as help become carbon neutral.  

Repair old goods

You might be tempted to to throw away that old broken table, chair or couch, but don’t. Rather fix it yourself and cut down on waste at landfills. Or upcycle, in other words find a different use for the old piece of furniture.  

Concentrate on windows and doors

Insulation is extremely important when building a new house. Heating and cooling of a house could amount 50% of the home's energy consumption. Leaks around windows, doors or ducts could amount to extreme heat loss.   Proper insulation could reduce your energy consumption quite radically and as a result save you a substantial amount on your utility bill at the end of the month.  

Efficient faucet systems

Efficient faucet systems will help you save energy, water and money. They don’t have to be expensive and are easy to install as well.  

Choose sustainable products

When choosing flooring make sure to choose from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo. It’s one of the fasted growing plants in the world. Bamboo requires no replanting and little fertilization or pesticides.  

Install solar panels

Solar is a clean renewable resource. The initial installation might be a bit costly, but it is an investment and will save you a lot in the long run as well as add value to your house.  

Compost

If you create a compost corner in your backyard you can nourish your garden and cut down on fertilizing costs in the spring. You can also cut down on wastage by using leftover veggies and fruit in your compost heap.  

Eco-Friendly Lighting

LED lights might be a bit more expensive, but they use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Since they offer significant cost savings in the long run, they can be ideal for your new green home.   Contact Soventix here to find out more about solar power systems.

Load shedding

has proved crippling to South Africans with the agricultural sector being hit especially hard. This sector operates in critical time windows in which irrigation, harvesting, packing and so forth must take place.   These time windows can range from weeks to months and unforeseen load shedding in any one of these windows can lead to a loss of quality of produce and therefore financial loss.

Irrigation

Certain crops, like maize and wheat, require extensive irrigation during the day. Unfortunately, because of the intense South African sun during the summer, irrigation can’t take place two hours before or after noon because of water evaporation.   This means that early morning and afternoon are the best times for crop irrigation. Unfortunately this is also the peak electricity usage period and when load shedding is normally scheduled.

Dairy

Another sector that is severely affected by load shedding is the dairy industry. As soon as the milk leaves the cow it has to be kept cold. The dairy product has to be kept at four degrees. It can’t freeze or be too warm and load shedding can be disastrous. Most dairy producers have backup energy generating systems but these are extremely expensive.  

Fruit Canning

Canning relies on processes that can’t be interrupted. The production system cannot be stopped and started at will. Once the production system has stopped it needs to be sterilised before it can be started again. This process takes between two to three hours.   Before the production line stops it also needs to be cleaned to adhere to hygienic standards. Therefore, regular power outages makes it near impossible for the system to be switched on at all.

The Cold chain

All agricultural industries from dairy to fruit, meat, vegetable and so forth are dependent on the cold chain to remain active.   This means from field to shop perishable goods must remain cooled. As an example, table grapes must remain cooled between a certain minimum and maximum temperature for 72 hours before shipped.   For farmers, a break in this cold chain means that sub-standards goods are sold at a sub-standard price.   Woolworths considers goods as wasted after the cold chain has been broken for eight consecutive minutes and dumps it. Pick & Pay works on seven minutes.   The constant functioning of the cold chain is therefore of utmost importance to producers.

Devastating effect

Load shedding can have a devastating effects on farmers and agriculture. There are so many aspects of the production system that relies on a constant energy supply that unforeseen load shedding can lead to real losses.   If you are interested in solar power contact us here for more information.

We all accept the fact solar energy is the way forward for South Africans that are fed up with rising electricity costs and the inconvenience of load shedding. However, is solar power really the way forward? Could solar power in actual fact be more expensive than fossil fuels? Lets have a look at the costs of solar power compared to that of Eskom’s coal powered electricity.  

The costs of solar energy

A couple of years ago the costs of a photovoltaic system was R5 kWh compared to Eskom's R0.50 a kWh. Solar power has now plummeted to R1 per kWh while Eskom has risen to R1.84 per kWh.   The drop in solar power’s price can be attributed to many factors such as a rise in demand and drop in production costs.   Installing a solar power system that is able to power all the necessary appliances is still not within reach of most South Africans as such a system is expensive.   Let's look at the breakdown of such a system
Solar panels R91 000
A battery bank R72 000
Inverter R36 000
Additional costs R34 000
Total Costs R233 000
  Keep in mind this would be a Maserati of solar power systems and battery banks are not necessary but advised in South Africa where the power delivery is unreliable and power cuts common.  

Long Term Investment

Lets look at this investment over a period of twenty years. At a cost of R200,000 it would equal R2,000 a month. If you take current electricity bills into consideration as well as the fact that Eskom is planning major tariff hikes you would most likely start making your money back within 5 years. And after twenty you would be making huge electricity savings.   Some estimate that you would be able to bring your electricity down to 80c per kWh. That is a lot less than the current tariff of R1.40n per kWh that Eskom is charging now.  

Environmental costs

Yes, the production of solar panels produce tetrachloride and other toxic waste products but these production plants are tightly measured by the industry as not to lose credibility.  

Let's look at coal

We aren’t going to look into the environmental impact here as we all know that coal is known as the dirty commodity. Let's rather look at the coal situation in South Africa at the moment.   After the Second World War there was a decision made by the South African government that the economic rebuild should be based on coal as it was cheap and widely available. This is no longer the case.   90% Of the electricity produced by Eskom comes from coal fired power stations. These run 24 hours a day and is supposed to be supported by Independent Power Producers (IPP’s). This is because the South African government decided back in the late 90’s that IPP’s would be better than extra coal fired power stations. The IPP’s never materialised.   As a result South Africa is in the middle of an energy crises as the demand for energy rose, but the supply didn’t. Therefore the demand for coal has also soared and can also not be supplied.   This is known as the looming coal cliff. The shortfall ranges from 60 to 120 Mt and is expected to be at its worst by 2019. This means that coal is just going to become more expensive and so are the electricity tariffs.  

What’s the Verdict?

All in all the production and installation costs of solar power systems are offset by the savings in the long run and the reduction of carbon emissions. It is an investment that will create much bigger returns in the long run. As more users go onto solar energy, Eskom will naturally have to raise their tariffs to make up for lost users.   If you are interested in solar power contact us here for more information.

South Africa’s energy crisis has had an unintended positive development. The acceptance of solar power into mainstream culture. Load shedding is doing great harm to households and business and people are realising that, in order to protect themselves against its effects, matters will have to be taken into their own hands. In steps photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems.   More and more businesses and households are installing PV solar power systems to counter load shedding. The big question is whether or not to include a battery system.  

How does a solar power installation without battery backup system work?

Such systems are attached to solar panels as well as the power grid and provide users with electricity from both.   Energy is produced by solar panels and are directed to the household. Solar panels do not need to produce electricity to run the entire household as electricity shortfalls can be made up by the power grid.  

What are the Advantages?

  • Less costly to install
  • Less components to maintain
  • Saves on electricity bills
  • Environmentally friendly
 

What Are The Disadvantages?

It does not provide the house with electricity during load shedding  

How does a solar power installation with battery backup system work?

PV systems with battery storage work pretty much the same way as systems without battery storage. Electricity is produced by solar panels to power the house while electricity from the grid supplements power shortfalls when the solar panels aren’t producing enough.   The difference is that batteries are included in the system and allows for electricity to be stored. These battery banks range in size and are charged by both the power grid and solar panels. This allows for a household or business to draw power from the battery systems during load shedding.  

What are the advantages?

  • Household or businesses can keep their lights on during load shedding
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Save on electricity bills
 

What are the disadvantages?

  • It’s more costly to install
  • More components to maintain
 

The final verdict?

In areas where there is a constant reliable power grid the solar power installation system without a battery backup system is ideal. It is simpler and cheaper to install and easier to maintain. You can always be expand it to include battery storage at a later stage.   In South Africa however we have a very unreliable power grid with load shedding being implemented on an almost daily basis. Therefore the grid tied system with a battery backup system is ideal. These systems are perfect for power outages of between two to four hours, which is how long load shedding normally lasts anyway.   For more information about solar power systems contact us here.

In 1989 the big milestone was to create solar panels that could convert 20 per cent of sunlight into energy. The University of New South Wales has recently been able to break the 40 per cent barrier.   Research has not only made solar panels more efficient, but also more affordable. This has prompted many to believe that solar powered carss are actually a viable alternative to fossil fuel-powered ones. But are they really?  

How Do Solar Cars Work

Solar cars and solar powered houses work on the same system. With houses photovoltaic solar panels capture sunlight. This sunlight is then converted into energy that powers electrical appliances. Excess energy can either be stored in batteries or pushed into the national grid if the national energy regulator allows for it.   Solar powered cars work in the same way. Photovoltaic solar panels convert sunlight into energy that can either power the car's motor directly, or it can be stored in a battery that then powers the motor.  

How Practical Are Solar Powered Cars?

Unfortunately, despite some vigorous research and development, solar powered cars are still a long way off the mark compared to electric battery charged and hydrogen cars.  

Weight and Power

Solar cars find it very difficult to gather enough power to move it. That’s why most of the vehicles only seat one person, don’t have any boot space and aren’t road legal.  

Sunlight

Designers also find it difficult to power the car throughout the day from the morning to the evening. Whereas houses, buildings and even the International Space Station receive almost constant sunlight, vehicles don’t have that luxury.   When in a parking garage, tunnel or even just on cloudy days, unless a solar vehicle has a battery pack, it won’t be able to move.   This links up with the issue of weight, as heavy batteries are required and the heavier the car the more power it needs to move.  

Costs

This issue of power then relates to the costs of solar cars. A car doesn’t have much space for solar panels to be placed. As a result the solar panels have to be extremely efficient and light-weight, which means that they are extremely expensive.  

Getting closer to a functional solar car

This all being said, the University of New South Wales has designed a solar powered car that they claim has overcame these issues and is road legal.   The Sunswift eVe attempts to merge range with speed and practicality, something no other solar car has been able to do thus far. It can do 140 km/h and is able to do 800km on a single charge, all this on as much power as a kitchen toaster.   The University of Johannesburg has also just launched their new solar car, the Ilanga II with which they are about to embark on a cross border safari. It will take them on o a 4,160 km circuit route across the border of Namibia and Botswana back to Johannesburg.  

The Future of Solar Vehicles

While solar powered cars do not seem to be a viable option in the near future, this technology should by no means be discarded. With all the research that is going into it, it might just become the most practical mode of transport in the future.   If you are interested in solar energy solutions for your home or business contact us here.

installing solar power systems in their homes, but in the end decided against it because of the aesthetic impact it will have.   Luckily, the developments in solar cell technology over the last couple of decades have resulted in various solar panel design advances. They can now be made to blend into their environment or even become part of a buildings structure.  

Roof tiles

SolTech is a Swedish based company that specialises in solar thermal light absorption technology. They have developed glass roof tiles that combine aesthetic beauty, practicality and efficiency.   These glass tiles are placed on liquid based absorber modules and are interconnected to create an integrated solar collector system. In short, it creates a very large solar panel.   Energy that is collected from the sun is stored in an accumulator tank. This tank is connected to the central heating system and when there is not enough sunlight to provide energy directly to the central heating system energy is drawn from the tank.   Although homes and buildings with central heating systems are mostly found in the colder Northern Hemisphere, the usage of aesthetically pleasing solar panels that are used as building materials is a refreshing development.  

Invisible Solar Panels

The non-profit Swiss company, SCEM, has developed a way for architects to blend solar panels into a building or environments’ ‘skin’. Thereby rendering them near invisible.   For the longest time architects have been asked to create white solar panels. Obviously this is not the best colour for solar panels as white reflects the sun’s rays. Black and dark blue, the traditional colours, at least absorb the rays.   The solution that SCEM came up with was to create solar cells that absorb infrared solar energy. They then combine them with a special filter that scatter the rays.   As a result of this development, it has made it possible for silicon based solar technologies to be moulded into solar panels that can blend into the environment and basically become invisible.  

Solar Windows

Dutch designer, Marjan van Auelll, have found a way around ugly solar panels by creating “Current Window”, a modernised version of stained glass.   These windows not only add aesthetic value to your house, they also generate electricity that can charge various appliances.   The stained glass is made from “dyesensitised solar cells”, a technology that was developed back in 1988. They generate electrical current by making using of the colours properties in much the same way as photosynthesis takes place in plants.   The window ledge has integrated USB ports that allows for devices to be plugged in so they can charge.   As with glass solar panels, the larger the surface that is exposed to the sun, the larger the electricity that will be produced. Therefore office buildings, schools and even churches will be able to draw great advantage of this development.   If you are interested in solar power and are considering installing a solar power system, be sure to contact us here.

South Africa has always been a prime location for solar power farms due to our climate and high rate of sunshine. The Jaspar solar farm in Kimberley is now one of Africa’s largest solar power projects, with many to follow. The construction of Jaspar was complete in October 2014 and it is fully operational. The rated capacity is 96 megawatts and Jaspar can produce about 180 000 megawatt-hours of clean energy annually. This amount of natural renewable energy from the solar panels can power up to 80 000 South African homes.   South Africa’s renewable solar power farms are growing rapidly. Located close to Jaspar is another solar power farm. The Lesedi project that can produce 75 megawatt concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) called Redstone is underway.   The Jaspar solar power farm generated approximately 1 million man-hours of paid work during construction and created over 800 on site construction jobs. Overall making solar farms not only good for our planet but our economy. Currently South Africa has a goal of 18 gigawatts of renewable energy produced through solar panel farms by 2030. Making projects like Jaspar and Redstone perfect paving stones for the future of South Africa’s renewable energy source.   The total project value was 45% spent on ‘local content’ with the aim to increase the economic impact in the local area. A consortium of companies helped to develop this project consisting of the Solar Reserve, Kensani Group and Intokon Energy. All these companies are experienced in their fields and major developers of renewable energy. Financing came from a number of international and local investment sources, namely Google and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Intokon Energy and Solar Reserve with Rand Merchant Bank.   South Africa offers an abundance of sunlight and masses of open space making it the perfect location for solar power farms. In the future we hope that the majority of South African homes and business will run off renewable energy that is clean for our environment and lays the path for future generations to follow.   If you are interested in solar power installations for your home or business, complete our contact form and we’d be happy to look at the best solutions for you.
People are of the opinion that upgrading an existing solar power system is as easy as adding a couple of solar panels on your roof. Salesmen often sell this idea by offering a 1.6 kW system with an upgradeable 5 kW inverter. You therefore have the option of upgrading at a later stage. This is okay if you plan to upgrade within a six month period, but there is a problem if you plan to upgrade your system a few years down the line.   The size of your solar power system should match your inverter Firstly, when installing a solar power system matching the inverter with the amount of solar panels you wish to have is preferred. This means that if you plan to buy a 1.8 kW system you should ideally match it to an inverter with a similar output. So, if you have a 1.8 kW system, you should match it to a 1.8 kW inverter.   The reason being that if you have a system that is too small for your inverter it often happens that there is not have enough energy coming down the line to kick over the inverter. You then sit in a position where you are not getting the output efficiency you were hoping for.   Solar panel technology is rapidly changing Secondly, as with all technology, solar panels are changing very quickly. What this means is that if you try to match three year old solar panels with new panels they will not integrate very well.   The best way to bypass this problem is to keep your current solar system intact and install a new system. So, if you have a 2kW system and you want to upgrade to a 6kW system you will install a 4 kW system next to it.   Check your equipment Lastly, you will need to have a look at the condition of your system. You have to inspect your panels for signs of corrosion and make sure there is no signs of yellowing and browning. The cables as well as the seals should also be inspected to make sure they are still intact.
So, you have had enough of load shedding and decided to look at alternative means of energy. You are not alone. On average, load shedding has taken place at least once every two days this year. As a result, it is no surprise that solar energy has experienced a massive boom since 2007.   Not only have several large scale solar power farms been erected, but residential solar power systems have also become hugely popular.   A question that regularly pops up when it comes to residential installations is whether to go with polycrystalline- or thin film solar panels. Let’s have a look at their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.   Polycrystalline solar panels Polycrystalline silicon is a very pure form of silicon. It is produced through a process known as the Siemens process.   The purity of silicon comes down to the alignment of the molecules. The more aligned they are, the purer it is and the better it will convert sunlight into energy.   The process used to enhance the purity of silicon is expensive and therefore solar panels made from polycrystalline solar panels are more expensive than thin film solar panels, though not as expensive as monocrystalline ones.   Advantages  
  • Compared to monocrystalline silicon solar cells the process to produce polycrystalline solar cells are simpler and cheaper, which means the solar panels are cheaper.
  • There is less wastage during the production process.
  • You need less surface area for the installation of solar panels as its purity enhances its efficiency.
  Disadvantages
  • They are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels.
  • You need to make sure that there is nothing that will block sunrays as 20% shade across the panels could result in a 50% drop in efficiency.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels are not as heat resistant as monocrystalline solar panels. This means that in high temperatures they are less effective than monocrystalline and tend to have a shorter life span.
  Thin film solar cells These solar cells are produced by depositing one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material on top of each other over a substrate, like glass. Even though thin film is not as efficient as polycrystalline cells, the production process is less costly.   Advantages
  • Mass production is simple and cost efficient. This means that solar panels are cheaper.
  • They are flexible and thus more versatile
  • They are more resistant to heat and shade
  Disadvantages
  • Thin film solar panels are cheaper, but because they are less efficient you need more of them and therefore you need more installation space.
  • Installation costs are also higher as you require more equipment such as support structures and cables.
  • They tend to have a shorter life span.
  Conclusion: The characteristics of two types of solar panels makes each ideal for certain types of installations. In areas where space is not an issue, like farms and commercial properties, thin film solar panels will be ideal. They are cheap, versatile and on farmland and commercial property, space is generally not an issue. In residential areas, where space is an issue, polycrystalline solar panels will be perfect. They don’t need as much space as they are more efficient.

The Ecocapsule is widely celebrated as a revolution in green design. As a totally self-sustaining pod, it offers off-the-grid self-sufficient living for up to a year. The Bratislavan architecture company, Nice Architects, completed the Ecocapsule in 2015 capping off 7 years of hard work.   Its spacious design allows for two adults to enjoy the comforts of home with a snug bed, warm running water, and hot meals anywhere in the world. It also offers a toilet and shower with plenty of storage space.   In spite of all these luxuries it is small enough to be towed by a car, fit in a shipping container or airlifted to wherever it is needed. On top of all this it only needs to be re-supplied once a year.   Its fittings The Ecocapsule is powered by a built in 750w retractable wind turbine as well as 2.6m2 of solar panels. A dual power system as well as a high capacity battery bank provides electricity when there is reduced solar or wind activity.   Water is collected by running down the Ecocapsules spherical shape. It is then caught at the bottom where water filters allows for its optimal use.   Each pod is 2.55 meters high, 4.45 meters long and 2.25 meters wide. According to Nice Architectures the biggest challenge was to integrate all these different elements and still have some space left for two adults to live comfortably.   What are the uses?   The Ecocapsule is suitable for a wide range of applications such as:  
  • Independent research stations
  • Tourist lodges
  • Emergency housing
  • Humanitarian action units
  When will it be available? Nice architectures is currently working on the production of the pod and plans to start with pre-orders by the end of 2015 while it aims to have its first units delivered by the beginning of 2016. They are also working on a chassis for a camper version and hope to have it ready by the end of 2016. If you are interested in solar power solutions contact us here for more information.

Selecting the perfect solar power system for your home can be an extremely daunting task for the average person. It is often quite difficult to sift through the many biased advertisements that promote specific products and find authentic information that can guide you in making the right decision.   With Eskom’s continuous struggles and the annoyance of load shedding, more and more South Africans have decided to turn towards solar powered homes. South Africa’s solar power potential is one of the highest in the world, averaging more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year. The total radiation that reaches the land area amounts to roughly 1 kilowatt per square metre at noon on a sunny day, which is more than double the solar radiation output of Europe.   Three major types of Solar Power Systems   The three major types of Solar Power Systems that can be used for home or office use include the Stand-alone Solar System, the Grid-connected Solar System and the Hybrid Solar System. The first decision to make when deciding on a solar home system is which option best suits your desired need.   Stand-alone Solar Power System   Also known as Off-grid Solar Systems, these systems operate independently from the grid (Eskom). During the day the Photovoltaic (PV) System supplies your home with direct power from the solar panels while simultaneously supplying charge to the battery backup system. At night the system automatically switches over to the battery charger inverter system to supply power.   While off-grid solutions are starting to become a realistic financial possibility, grid-connected Solar Power Systems are still much more common around South Africa.   Typical off-grid solar systems require the following additional components:  
  • Battery Bank
  • Solar Charge Controller
  • Off-Grid Inverter
  • DC Disconnect (additional)
  • Backup Generator (additional)
  Grid-connected Solar Power System   These systems are designed to operate in conjunction with the grid (Eskom’s power supply). The PV system receives backup power from the utility’s grid when it isn’t producing enough power itself. The inverter converts the DC power produced by the PV panels into AC power, which is consistent with the voltage and power quality requirements of the grid. Power supply to the grid is automatically stopped when the utility grid is not energised. Although Eskom will not pay you for surplus electricity generated, and grid-connected systems won’t save you from load shedding, the generation of electricity should help to reduce your electricity bill. Typical grid-connected solar systems rely on the following components:
  • Power Meter
  • Grid-Tie Inverter (GTI) or Micro-Inverters
  Hybrid Solar System   Hybrid solar systems, also known as on-grid solar with battery storage, combines the best of stand-alone and grid-connected solar systems. They can be described either as grid-connected with extra battery storage or as off-grid with utility backup. Charged Battery Banks make it possible for you to still have electricity, even during power cuts!   Considering that Eskom does not pay you for surplus electricity generated, combining energy storage with a grid-connected system makes it possible for you to store excess energy generated during the day, allowing it to then be used at night or during load shedding.   Typical hybrid solar systems include the following additional components:  
  • Battery Bank
  • Charge Controller
  • Battery-Based Grid-Tie Inverter
  • Power Meter
  • DC Disconnect (additional)
  If you still have any further questions about solar power homes, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.  

The amount of energy from the sun that reaches the Earth each day is absolutely enormous. All the energy stored in the world’s reserves of oil, coal and natural gases is matched to the energy of just 20 days of sunshine. Because of this, it is easy to understand why solar energy farms are becoming more and more popular around South Africa.   Recent solar technology advances and installation price drops have seen the global use of solar energy continue to grow significantly. Agriculture solar power has boomed, with farmers investing in cost-saving and sustainable technology that is friendly to the environment.   Solar power is most commonly used to generate electricity and heat water, although if used correctly, the power from the sun can be harnessed to fulfil many useful functions throughout the farm.   1. Solar Powered Sensors   Gathering important data for more optimal growth or efficient watering is a crucial part of farming. When setting up sensors across a large area of land, it is often difficult to run a mains supply to the sensor node. Wireless sensor nodes offer a brief solution, although it is often inconvenient and time-consuming to replace the batteries regularly.   This is where solar powered sensor technology comes in, offering an easy and cost-effective way to gather data. Agricultural applications for these sensors are substantial. By determining precipitation, soil moisture and levels of sunlight, watering can easily be regulated. Electronic tags on livestock can make it possible to track and automatically monitor and control the feeding and watering of animals.   2. Solar Fence Chargers   Farms with livestock require fencing solutions that are effective, adaptable and dependable. Electric fences powered by the sun are perfect, whether for moveable paddocks or permanent installation.   Thanks to the availability of affordable parts, solar fencing is quickly becoming a cost-effective and convenient component of farming. Installation is easy, making this a perfect DIY-styled project.   3. Solar Greenhouse Heating   In 2011 it was calculated that the agricultural sector emits about 13% of the total global greenhouse emissions. This placed farming as the world’s second-largest emitter, after the energy sector. Based on this statistic, much focus has been placed on the importance of solar power within farming. Agricultural solar energy facts show that beyond panel production, solar energy does not emit any greenhouse gases. This is the main driving force behind solar power, making it one of the most popular green energy choices.   Traditional commercial greenhouses often rely on gas or oil heaters in order to maintain constant temperatures. Solar greenhouses collect and store solar energy during sunny days, making it possibly to retain the heat for use during the night and on cloudy days.   4. Solar Irrigation   Photovoltaic (PV) water pumping systems are becoming more and more popular, especially for locations with no existing powerlines. Basic systems run pumps directly when the sun is shining, ensuring that they work hardest in the hot summer months when they are needed most.   Solar irrigation systems are very reliable and cost-effective, requiring little maintenance. They can easily be sized and installed to fit your desired need. While smaller systems generally don’t require batteries, larger pumping systems may include them, along with inverters and tracking mounts to follow the sun.   5. Solar Powered Vehicles   While solar powered vehicles are still relatively uncommon with farming, this may change significantly within the near future. Tractors are typically diesel-powered, which not only contributes to global warming and air pollution, but also soil and groundwater pollution through diesel spills. Electric vehicles powered by renewable energy may be the solution, with research showing that agricultural electric vehicles could avert 23.3 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.  
The sheer power and potential of solar energy is absolutely breathtaking. It is said that all the energy stored in the world’s reserves of coal, oil and natural gases is matched to the energy of just 20 days of sunshine. The farming sector has seen a boom on solar energy savings, making it easy to understand why solar farms are becoming more and more popular around the country.   With recent solar technology advances and installation price drops, solar power use has continued to grow significantly. South Africa’s solar potential is extremely promising, receiving more than double the solar radiation output of Europe. With more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged each year, solar power can save farmers money through a number of different ways.   The main advantage of solar power for farming is that it allows farmers to save on their constantly rising energy costs of running a successful farm. Solar also allows farmers to stop relying so heavily on depleting resources like fossil fuels, which are not only costly, but also harmful to the environment.   Greenhouse Heating   Commercial greenhouses often rely on gas or oil heaters in order to maintain a constant temperature, making it a rather costly process. A solar greenhouse applies the same principles as a regular one, except that the greenhouse is specially aligned towards the sun. Large transparent widows, referred to as glazing, are placed on the sides where the most light comes in, while the other sides are well insulated, with few or no windows to help absorb and retain the heat.   Remote Electricity Supply   Farms are usually situated in remote locations where electrical power lines often do not reach. In situations like this, generators are frequently used to generate electricity, typically coming with a large price tag attached. Photovoltaic (PV) panels can be used as a cheaper option for generating electricity. Most PV systems are relatively low-maintenance and highly reliable. There are many practical applications of solar power as a source of electricity. They can be used to generate heat, pump water and power lights and electric fences, to name a few.   Solar Crop Drying   Solar drying equipment can be used to dry crops much faster and more evenly than simply leaving them in the field after harvest. An added bonus of solar crop drying is that harvest damage by birds, pests or the weather is avoided.   A solar dryer typically consists of an enclosure or shed, a solar collector and screened drying trays or racks. Heat is collected by the solar collector and pushed into the enclosure. Natural convection or a fan moves hot air through the crops to dry them.   The cost of solar collectors can be quite high, so simple solar crop dryer designs with sun-facing windows and dark-coloured drying trays with a glass cover can be used to capture the heat. In an attempt to make solar collectors more cost-effective, they can also be used to heat other buildings around the farm while they are not needed for crop drying.   Solar Power Inquiries   If you still have any further questions about solar panels for your home, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.  
Are you thinking about investing in solar panels, but are confused about which type to go for? Then you have come to the right place! When it comes to solar panels for the home, although there are many variations, the two most common types are those made of crystalline silicon and those made using thin-film technology.   Before we can accurately investigate different solar panel solutions, we need to first understand the basic solar power process. The photovoltaic (PV) array is made up of hundreds of solar cells. These solar cells contain materials with semiconducting properties, allowing their electrons to be turned into electrical current when struck by sunlight.   Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells (c-Si)   Silicon solar panels are the most common type found today, with almost 90% of all solar cells on the market being based on some variation of silicon. While there are numerous variations, the two main types of crystalline silicon solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.   Silicon panels are mostly distinguished by the purity of the silicon. Purity refers to how perfectly aligned the silicon molecules are. The better aligned they are, the more efficient the solar cell will be at converting sunlight into electricity.   It is important to remember that efficiency isn’t necessarily your primary concern. Cost as well as space-efficiency are often the main determining factors for most people.   Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells   Monocrystalline Solar Panels, also known as “single crystalline”, hold the title of most efficient in their output of electrical power. This is thanks to it being made from a very pure type of silicon, as well as the unique design. Single crystalline solar cells are made out of “silicon ingots” which are cylindrical in shape to optimise performance.   As a result of its high efficiency, monocrystalline solar panels are also the most space-efficient relative to their generation intensity. Another huge advantage is the fact that they last the longest of all types. Many manufacturers offer warranties of up to 25 years.   The main disadvantage is that the superiority of these solar cells come with a price tag to match. As the most expensive of all solar cells, from an investment standpoint, many consumers choose polycrystalline or thin-film as their preferred choice for home power.   Polycrystalline Solar Cells   Also known as multisilicon cells, this technology was the first cell ever introduced to the industry. Due to the fact that they do not go through the cutting process of monocrystalline, and are rather melted and poured into moulds, polysilicon panels are much more affordable, since hardly any silicon is wasted.   Efficiency is less, operating at a 13-16% efficiency compared to monocrystalline’s efficiency at upwards of 20%. Because of this, polycrystalline is less space-efficient. Another drawback is the lower heat tolerance of these panels, meaning that they do not perform as efficiently in high temperatures.   Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)   Thin-film solar cells are up and coming in the world of renewable energy. They are characterised by the manner in which semi-conducting materials (including silicon in some cases) are layered on top of one another to create a series of thin-films. Efficiencies vary between 7-13%, although much research is being done, hoping to push efficiency up to as high as 16%.   The main advantage of thin-film technology is their cost-effective nature, allowing for mass production. Their low efficiency means that these panels require a lot of space, making them less ideal for residential application.   Thin-film technology uses various photovoltaic substances. The main two we’ll discuss are amorphous silicon and cadmium telluride.   Amorphous Silicon   Traditionally this was used for smaller-scale applications such as calculators and travel lights. An innovative technique known as “stacking” allows for several layers of amorphous silicon solar cells to be combined, resulting in efficiency rates of around 6-8%.   Cadmium Telluride   Cadmium telluride is one of the few thin-film technologies to become cost-competitive with crystalline models. Efficiency levels range between 9-11%.   Solar Power Inquiries   If you still have any further questions about solar panels for your home, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.  
We all know that load shedding is here to stay. According to Stats SA, it one of the biggest reasons the South African economy is struggling. Eskom predicts that load shedding will be with us until 2017, but then again the Medupi Power Station was supposed to be operational back in 2012. Who knows when the South African energy situation will stabilise?   Stats SA says more and more companies and business are turning to alternative power producers to keep them afloat. But what is the best form of power production to protect you from the effects of load shedding? Is it generators, or is it solar power. Let’s see how these two compare to each other.   Petrol and Diesel Generators   There are two types of generators, standby generators and portable generators. Standby generators are big and fixed to one spot. The idea is that during load shedding they power the entire household.   Portable generators range from extremely basic to digitally controlled. All of these have diesel or petrol engines with a plug socket on the front. For the most part they can only run one multi plug socket at a time.   Generator must be operational in order to work. In other words, a generator must be running for it to supply any power to connected appliances, even if the power required is minimal or intermittent. This means that they are actually inefficient as they use the same amount of fuel whether they power one appliance or multiple appliances. The amount of fuel used depends on the size of the generator. Most of the time a generator is used because of its convenience. It simply needs to be switched on and connected to an appliance to work.   Price   A 750 Watt Stramm generator will cost about R1000. If you are looking for a bit more power, then you can go for a 2 300 Watt Ryobi that will go for around R3 400. At the top of the range is the 161kg Kipor 8 500 Watt petrol generator that retails at about R26 000.   Solar systems   Solar power systems is long term solution to load shedding. The initial costs of solar is more than connecting a generator, but in the long term it will be much more beneficial.   A generator that is strong enough to power 10 lights, TV, decoder, home alarm, 3 chargers, desktop computer, fridge, kettle and stove or microwave will set you back about R7 490.   An average solar power system will be more expensive than this, but the amount that you will save will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run. A solar power system will have a longer lifespan, require much less maintenance and within two to three years it will actually pay for itself. Not only will you make money from a solar power system, but you will also add value to your property.   Another thing to consider is when you buy a generator you must still buy the fuel for it to produce power. With a solar power system you pay a once off cost for equipment and installation and from there it produce electricity.   So, everything considered, a generator can be seen as a bandage to temporarily tie you over the inconveniences and effects of load shedding. A more permanent solution and investment will be to install a solar power system.
Last month scientists in Switzerland announced an innovative clean-energy breakthrough that splits water molecules in order to create clean-burning hydrogen fuel. Although it is still in its early days, this breakthrough could provide a much cheaper solution for solar technology.   With global warming and greenhouse gas emissions being a critical concern, there has been a massive international push towards improving solar energy. Up until now, previous solar-hydrogen technologies have been too expensive to attempt to commercialise.   The breakthrough has seen a huge increase in efficiency, opening new pathways for solar energy development. Although scientists have predicted that the new and improved solar panel design won’t be available to the average person for at least 10 years, the discovery definitely brings about major implications for climate change. Improved and affordable solar energy will greatly reduce fossil fuel dependency.   The main advantage of splitting water molecules to create hydrogen is that it will allow the sun’s energy to be more easily stored to power clean cars or generate electricity. One of the report’s authors commented that at the rate we are using fossil fuels, a solar to hydrogen conversion technology will eventually become economically viable no matter what.   The Solar Cell Technology   While the solar panels look similar to the traditional versions, often seen mounted on rooftops, the new technology will see sunlight first passing through a thin layer of water contained inside the photovoltaic cell. The solar cell technology makes use of tungsten diselenide, a non-toxic chemical, which acts as a photocatalyst. This compound is critical for harnessing the sun’s energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.   Currently statistics show that about 1% of the energy from the sunlight that passes through a panel can be converted into hydrogen energy. In order for the discovery to have mass commercial appeal, efficiency must increase to about 10%.   Authors of the report believe that it is only a matter of time and research before the new technology’s efficiency is improved.   Solar Power Inquiries   If you still have any further questions about solar panels for your home, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.  
South Africans know the term “load shedding” all too well, that feeling of helplessness when the power cuts and you’re left in the dark. While the national grid may currently be surviving, we all know that this could change at any given moment. Solar power tools and solar solutions are becoming more and more common across the country.   With more than double the solar radiation output of Europe, solar power South Africa has amazing alternative energy potential. With more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged a year, utilising solar power can most definitely help you survive load shedding with ease.   Soventix has put together a list of 5 top solar power tips to get you through load shedding without breaking a sweat.   1. Generating electricity with solar   Thanks to recent technological advances, solar power systems for the home are now relatively affordable. Making use of a solar power storage battery allows your home or business to continue functioning, even when Eskom thinks otherwise.   As soon as load shedding kicks in, the power collected in the storage battery will do its thing, allowing your household or business to continue being powered for a certain period of time.   2. Solar lights to beat the darkness   While candles may be romantic, they can become quite a nuisance, especially when load shedding is a regular occurrence. Solar lamps and jars kept outside in the sunlight can easily be brought inside during load shedding, allowing the darkness to become a problem of the past. The best part about these solar lamps is that they can become beautiful decorations to keep outside, even when load shedding is no longer a problem.   3. Solar geysers   Geysers typically account for up to 50% of a household’s electricity bill, which is why investing in a solar geyser is not only great for beating load shedding, but also great for lowering your monthly electricity bill. As solar power tools go, solar geysers are extremely efficient and relatively inexpensive, making them the perfect place to start when it comes to utilising the power of the sun.   4. Solar chargers   Getting home from work to discover that your power is off, is very frustrating. Pulling your cell phone out of your pocket and realising that it has low battery, is infuriating! Thankfully, solar power device chargers exist, allowing you to beat load shedding and continue using your mobile appliances until the lights switch back on. Keeping the solar charger on your dashboard during your drive home, or placing it in a room that receives much sunlight during the day, is a great way to ensure that none of your devices will become a casualty of load shedding.   5. Solar cooking   As much as we love to braai, it can become a bit much if load shedding forces you to braai every day. This is where the solar cooker comes in to save the day. Solar cookers are affordable, and can even be made as a DIY project. With over 65 different types available, they can be used as an oven, they can roast meat, bake bread and even steam vegetables.   Let Soventix turn your solar dream into a reality   At Soventix we strive to create tailored solar power kits that cater to your specific needs. Don’t let Eskom catch you unaware, contact us today and discover solar solutions that work for you.  
Farms that don’t have any sort of backup power suffer greatly when Eskom decides to cut the electricity. Renewable energy for farms is vitally important for beating load shedding. Solar power systems are extremely popular in the agricultural sector, thanks to the fact that farms receive an abundance of sunlight and often have masses of unused land available.   Besides being able to offset the burden of a high electrical consumption, solar power systems can also play a massive role in allowing your farm to continue functioning during load shedding. Take a look at these 5 great tips to beating load shedding.   1. Lighting the way   It becomes just about impossible to perform daily tasks if you are unable to see. By designing agricultural buildings that utilise sunlight, rather than electrical lighting, you can cut your electrical costs as well as continue working even when Eskom has a bad day.   By using well-positioned skylights and solar powered lighting, you can rest easy knowing that the darkness will never affect your crops or livestock buildings.   2. Cheaper livestock management   In confined livestock spaces, fresh air is critical. Electrical ventilation systems are traditionally used, which not only raises your electrical bill, but also suffers when load shedding kicks in. Making use of solar power heating and cooling systems can save money and fuel, while keeping your livestock happy.   Electric fences that are powered by the sun are effective, adaptive and dependable. These can be used for permanent installation or as moveable paddocks.   Cleaning livestock areas with hot water can also become quite costly. Using solar power systems to heat water is great for beating load shedding, while cutting costs.   3. Greenhouse heating   Using greenhouses to grow crops is a common practice, with electrical, gas or oil heaters traditionally used to maintain and adjust core temperatures. These heating options can be expensive, often becoming defective during load shedding. By specially aligning greenhouses, natural sunlight can be used during the day. Energy stored by solar power systems when the sun is shining can continue to heat greenhouses during the night, on cloudy days or when load shedding strikes.   4. Crop drying   The suns power has been used to dry crops since the beginning of time. Traditionally crops were left to dry out in the field, or on racks inside a shed. This left them susceptible to pests and bad weather. Making use of solar powered drying systems within agricultural buildings not only allow crops to dry faster and more evenly, they also allow farmers to dry their crops 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.   5. Solar irrigation   Farming with solar powered irrigation systems are becoming more and more popular around South Africa as a result of Eskom’s struggles. When load shedding kicks in, the power can often stay off for long periods of time, leaving crops begging to be hydrated.   Solar irrigation systems are reliable and cost-effective, usually requiring little maintenance. The pumps run when the sun is shining, ensuring that they work hardest in the hot summer months when they are needed most.   How Soventix can help   Soventix understands that each and every client is unique. Because of this, we strive to design customised solar power systems that meet your desired needs. If you are interested in solar power installations, be sure to complete our contact form so that we can provide the best solutions for you.  
While load shedding seems to have once more become a thing of the past, South Africans know that you can never fully trust Eskom when it comes to keeping the lights on. Load shedding causes immense frustration, where both households and businesses suffer. Each time the power goes poof, households are unable to perform regular tasks, while businesses have to wave farewell to their money. Due to this reality, alternative energy sources such as photovoltaic solar power systems are quickly becoming a popular way to beat load shedding.   Thanks to the high levels of radiation in our country, solar South Africa offers amazing alternative energy potential. With more than double the solar radiation output of Europe and more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged a year, there is no question as to why solar power kits are flying off the shelf.   How does it work?   Photovoltaic solar power systems are perfect for beating load shedding. When the national grid is providing electricity, you can simply go about your business as normal, knowing that your solar panel is storing the beautiful rays of sun in preparation.   As soon as load shedding strikes, the solar power that has been saved in the storage battery will kick in, powering your household or business for a certain period of time.   What about generators?   While many households and businesses choose to make use of generators as a way of beating load shedding, this can easily become a tedious task. Generators can be expensive to buy and are extremely noisy, which is not always great for business. Many generators can also be quite tough to start-up, leaving you hot, sweaty and frustrated with load shedding. While generators may seem like an easier and cheaper option, they can become quite costly in the long run, mainly due to the fuel that they use. If you’re looking for a greener alternative, then solar power is the perfect backup power option for you.   Soventix customised Solar Power Kits   Typical residential solar power kits are made up of the following essential components:  
  • Solar Power Panels
  • Solar Charge Controller
  • Solar Power Storage Battery
  • Solar Inverter
  At Soventix, we understand that every client is unique. Because of this, we strive to design customised solar power kits that meet your specific needs.   If you are interested in solar power installations for your home or business, be sure to complete our contact form and let us provide the best solutions for you.  

One of the main questions to consider when planning your solar system is how big it needs to be. In other words, how much electricity does it need to generate in order to power your home, or at least to power the most important appliances.   When choosing your solar system size, you first need to calculate how much energy your house uses. Once you have discovered this amount, you can then begin to make use of energy saving techniques to bring the total amount down. It makes sense that the less energy you need to generate, the less amount of money you will need to spend on your solar system.   It is important to remember that almost every device that plugs into a wall socket usually has a label or engraving that tells you how much energy it uses. This is a great place to start, although the amounts given may vary somewhat. There are three main ways that you can go about calculating how much power your home uses from month to month:   1. Using a simple plug-in-watt-hour meter 2. Installing an in-home energy use monitor 3. Keeping track of your electricity meter over time   Let’s discuss these three approaches in more detail.   Using a simple plug-in-watt-hour meter   These sorts of devices are perfect for measuring how much electricity appliances use, either at a given moment or over a period of time. While this isn’t going to give you a completely accurate reading for your entire home, it will allow you to find out how much energy your most common appliances use each month.   These devices are affordable and easy to use. Simply plug the appliance into the meter, plug the meter into the wall, and the reading will display. Slightly more expensive meters will allow you to store and download the data for closer analysis, as well as providing you with usage graphs, comparisons and predictions.   Using an in-home energy use monitor   In-home energy display meters offer the most accurate readings, making them really useful solar power calculator devices. Besides calculating how much energy your entire house is using at any given moment, as well as how much energy you use per month, home energy meters can also provide you with other valuable information. Cost of the energy used, as well as an estimate of greenhouse gas emissions are some of the features that make these devices worthwhile.   We recommend using a qualified electrician to install this device. The installation process it typically quick and easy, usually only taking about 30 minutes to complete.   Tracking electricity meter over time   This process may require a little bit more work from your side, but the main advantage is that it is completely free. While you won’t have the benefit of storing the data in nifty ways that compare prices and monthly usage, you will still be able to receive an accurate monthly reading of how much energy your home uses.   The process is simple and rather logical. Take a look at your current reading on your electricity meter and write it down. After certain time periods, whether it is daily or monthly, you can revert back to the meter and jot down the latest reading. Subtracting the first reading from the latest reading will let you know how much energy was used over that time period.   Further Inquiries   If you have any further questions or inquiries about what the ideal solar system size may be for you, please do not hesitate to contact a Soventix solar expert here.  
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft recently completed a historic, record-breaking flight in its quest to circle the globe without consuming a single drop of fuel, touching down gracefully in Hawaii. This marks the end of the 8th flight, a gruelling 7,200 km across the Pacific Ocean, completed in just under 5 days.   In an attempt to promote the powers of clean, renewable energy, the Solar Impulse initiative aims to demonstrate that solar power technology can achieve impossible goals. If an aeroplane can fly day and night without fuel, the same creative solar energy technologies can be used on the ground to save natural resources and improve the quality of life.   After more than a decade of research and technology, the single-seated monoplane, powered by photovoltaic cells, started its around-the-world journey by departing from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March 2015. Since the start of the journey, the plane has completed a total of 19,957 km, flying for a total of 254h58m. Since its departure, the plane has travelled from the UAE to Oman, India, Burma, China, Japan and Hawaii, where it is currently grounded.   Although the plane suffered some setbacks during its flight to Hawaii, the many records that the journey broke speaks volumes for the potential of renewable energy. The distance covered, as well as the time spent in the air, are both records for manned, solar-powered flights.   The around-the-world journey has been delayed somewhat as a result of the batteries suffering damages from overheating. André Borschberg, one of the two pilots behind the Solar Impulse project, commented that they have faced many challenges along the way, which they have used to learn and improve their creative solar energy project in the long-term.   While each of the batteries are currently being replaced, Borschberg is confident that his co-pilot, Bertrand Piccard, will be back in the cosy cockpit soon. The Solar Impulse 2 is scheduled to depart from Hawaii in April 2016, heading for Phoenix, Arizona. From Phoenix, the solar energy plane will head for New York and a trans-Atlantic trip to Europe that would eventually see the plane return to the point of its initial departure in Abu Dhabi.   What does this mean for the future of solar?   The future of renewable energy is a bright one. The Solar Impulse team and Google are engaging in ongoing discussions that hope to lead to educational initiatives that inspire young creative solar energy innovators to change the world.   The next step for the Solar Impulse project is the development of an unmanned version of the plane that will be able to fly nonstop, at high altitudes, for long periods of time. Borschberg believes that this solar power technology could provide a sustainable alternative to satellites, perhaps even rendering them obsolete.   At Soventix we recognise the massive and necessary potential that renewable energy offers. We strive to make solar initiatives a reality around South Africa and the rest of the world. Through project development, financing and maintenance we stand united with Solar Impulse’s approach to this and every project: “Very often we find big obstacles, but very often those big obstacles lead us to find a better way.”   If you are interested in solar power financing and installations for your home or business, be sure to complete our contact form and let us provide the best solutions for you.  
With recent technology advances and the constant push towards affordability, solar panels are quickly becoming a common sight across the country. South Africa boasts some of the highest solar power potential in the world, with more than double the solar radiation output of Europe.   With more and more homeowners beginning to make use of this fantastic renewable energy, keeping up with the technical jargon can often be quite daunting. Feeling like a solar power installer is speaking a completely different language to you, as they attempt to explain the process, can leave you feeling dazed and confused.   With technical terms and endless solar power abbreviations, it is easy to feel lost. In an attempt to allow you to speak about solar power confidently, let’s discuss some of the more common terms that you may come across.   Photovoltaics (PV)   Photo refers to light, while volt refers to electrical potential. PV is a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity. When light shines on certain materials, such as silicon, an electrical current is generated.   Photovoltaics (PV) Array   This is the technical term for the completed solar power system. A PV array refers to an interconnected system of PV modules and panels that function as a single electricity-producing unit.   Inverter   Most PV arrays make use of an inverter to convert the Direct Current (DC) power produced by the panels into Alternating Current (AC) power. AC power is consistent with the voltage and power quality requirements of the utility grid. Solar inverters can be classified into three broad types:  
  • Stand-alone inverters, which do not need to be connected into a solar panel. These draw DC power from batteries that are charged by PV arrays or other resources, such as generators or wind turbines.
  • Grid-tie inverters, which convert DC voltage from the solar panels directly into AC power to match the grid. Power produced by the solar panels subtract from what you are using from Eskom. Grid-tie inverters do not provide backup power during utility outages.
  • Battery backup inverters, which are specially designed to draw energy from a battery as well as manage the battery charge via the onboard charger. These inverters are capable of supplying AC energy to selected loads during a utility outage.
  Watt and kWh   Watt (W) refers to the unit of electric power, or amount of work (Joule), done in a unit of time. One Ampere of current flowing at a potential of one Volt will produce one Watt of power.   Kilowatt-hour, or kWh, represents a 1,000 Watt load operated over a period of one hour. This is used to define the amount of energy used over a one-hour period. For example, a 60-Watt incandescent light bulb switched on for one hour would use 60 Watt-hours of energy. Electricity rates are most commonly expressed in cents per Kilowatt-hour.        Photovoltaic (PV) conversion efficiency   The conversion efficiency of a solar cell refers to the percentage of the solar energy that is actually converted into electrical energy. The main push of solar energy research is to improve this conversion efficiency. The more efficient solar cells can be, the less space they will need to take up. This research will also help to make PV technologies more cost-competitive with traditional sources of energy.   Further Questions   We hope that this has helped you to become better acquainted with the world of solar energy and the solar power abbreviations attached. If you have any further questions or inquiries about turning your home into a solar powered safe haven, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.  

  With our unreliable and expensive electricity, many South Africans have begun making use of alternative power options. One of the most common questions that arises during this process is whether it’s better to invest in a solar power system, or whether it would be better to make use of diesel generators. This question is quite complex, as it depends on a number of different factors, and therefore doesn’t have a single simple answer. Factors such as the type of solar power system required, future fuel prices, the annual Eskom price hike as well as the Rand/Dollar or Rand/Euro currency exchange all play a part.   Diesel generators have a low up-front cost, with even a modestly sized unit being able to provide enough power for most of the important appliances in the average home. Installation is relatively easy, although maintenance and constant refuelling can become tedious. Solar power systems, in comparison, are relatively expensive up-front, but once installed, require virtually no maintenance. Most good solar panels will last between 25-30 years, making them a great long-term alternative power solution.   Cost   When comparing the cost a of solar power system to the purchase of a generator, it is important to remember that the diesel generator price does not include the fuel. Because of this, it may initially seem logical to choose the generator option, but when you sit back and calculate the amount that will be spent on fuel and maintenance over the equivalent design life of the solar system, the prices become much more comparable.   While solar is a bit more expensive in the short term, by taking the ever-increasing price of fuel into account, the cost of purchasing and running a generator is about the same as a solar system in the medium term. The long lifespan of solar power systems make them a perfect long-term alternative power investment, especially with South Africa’s unstable power situation.   When it comes to beating load shedding, it is also important to remember that solar doesn’t provide direct power like the generator does. Because of this, you will need an inverter and batteries to store the DC power produced, allowing you to continue powering your home or business when Eskom implements load shedding.   Efficiency   Solar power South Africa has some of the highest solar potential worldwide, with more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged a year. This makes it possible for your solar power system to reach its full potential.   Solar batteries are fast-acting, taking about 8 milliseconds for your home to switch over to battery power once the grid has gone down. This makes the transitional period virtually instant. Most generators, on the other hand, have to be started manually, making the crossover period less fluid. If the generator runs out of fuel, it takes time and effort to refuel and start it up again. This process can quickly become tiresome, especially during peak load shedding times.   Pollution   Whether we’re referring to atmospheric pollution or sound pollution, solar power systems are undoubtedly the greener option. Typical standby diesel generators produce 11-14 kilograms of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per megawatt hour of power generated. Prolonged exposure to this can lead to health hazards.   Conclusion   While the upfront costs of a solar power system may be higher than simply purchasing a generator, the long-term advantages, both financially as well as environmentally, push solar power ahead.   How Soventix can help   Soventix realises profitable photovoltaic projects, offering a variety of services from project development to financing, project realisation, operation and maintenance. We strive to turn your solar power dream into a reality! If you are interested in solar power installations, be sure to complete our contact form so that we can provide the best solutions for you.   Or you can contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Thanks to the rocky relationship between South Africans and Eskom, more and more people are turning towards solar power solutions as a way to ensure energy stability. One of the major obstacles preventing many households from harnessing this sustainable and renewable source of power, is the fact that installation comes attached with a rather hefty up-front cost.   This is where solar financing through power purchase agreements (PPA) come in, allowing many households to overcome cost as a barrier. By lowering the up-front cost of solar, expansion of the addressable market has become a reality.   What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA)?   Before we can discuss the multiple solutions available, it is important to first have a basic understanding of what solar power finance entails. In short, these agreements are contractual arrangements between consumers and third-party financers, where the consumer does not have to deal with the hassle of ownership. These hassles could include system maintenance, project coordination, construction and repairs.   This financial arrangement makes it possible for the host customer to receive stable power solutions which are usually cheaper than Eskom’s or your municipality’s rates.   Solar power finance solutions   We sat down with Blackwood Power, a leading energy services company, in order to find out more about their solar power finance solutions and processes. Solar packages can be broken down into three broad categories, based on what the client’s required outcome entails. The Standard Solution is there for clients who simply want the financial convenience of solar energy. The Storage-Enabled Solution is offered for those clients that are seeking to beat load shedding through the use of battery storage. Their Off-Grid Solution is provided for clients who wish to become completely independent of the grid.   Blackwood Power covers the full cost of the components required for your installation. Financing options include outright purchasing, a fixed payment option, an escalating payment option as well as the solar consumption agreement. Let’s examine these financing options further:   Outright Purchase   While this option comes at a higher initial cost, it provides the greatest saving over the full 20-year period. Once on-site evaluators have conducted an analysis of your requirements, they will provide you with a quotation that includes the anticipated power generation of your array. This makes it possible for you to calculate the break-even period on your investment. Part of this financing option includes the programming of the home management system, allowing you to optimise your solar consumption.   This financing option includes a full 20-year warranty on the PV panels, as well as a 15-year warranty on the inverters. While the cost does not include maintenance, an additional maintenance contract is offered as an option.   Fixed or Escalating Power Purchase Agreements   Fixed Payment Option:   Besides the outright purchasing option, the fixed payment option provides the best instalment savings over the full 20-year period. While your total electrical bill will be marginally higher than your existing Eskom or municipal bill for the first three years, after that time, savings will increase year-on-year.   With this purchase agreement you will pay a pre-agreed fixed monthly amount for the life of the installation.   Escalating Payment Option:   While the instalment savings over the 20-year period are lower, compared to the fixed payment option, this financing agreement comes at a much lower initial cost. With this purchase agreement you will pay a pre-agreed monthly power free which will be adjusted annually in line with the South African prime lending rate.   The Solar Consumption Agreement   The solar consumption agreement provides the lowest initial costs of all the financial packages, with immediate savings seen with the Standard Solar Solution. If you opt for the Storage-Enabled Solar Solution, the added cost of the battery inverter will mean that savings will only be enjoyed three years after installation.   How Soventix can help   We hope that this article has helped you understand the process of solar power financing. Soventix strives to turn your solar power dream into a reality! If you have any further questions, simply complete our contact form.   Or you can contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
One of the major technological challenges in the push towards a clean energy economy is the expense and capacity of storage batteries. While the sun may shine powerfully during the day, if there is nowhere to store all of this energy until peak-demand in the evening, then the system is not effective. Forking out large amounts of money for batteries push the solar power system’s price tag sky-high, making it unaffordable for many households.   New lithium battery technology and manufacturing methods could play a vital role in improving affordability, allowing solar technology to catch up to demand. While battery storage technology is an important aspect of the solar power industry, with many advances taking place, these are two projects that grabbed our attention. These technological advances could greatly change the solar power industry.   The Tesla Powerwall   On May 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the Powerwall battery, which promises to take homes and businesses off the grid, hopefully in the not-so distant future. This beautiful battery looks more like modern art, replacing the traditional battery bank with a much more economic and innovative solution. The Powerwall has two models, a 10kWh capacity for backup applications and a 7kWh capacity for daily cycle applications.   The first advantage of the Powerwall is cost, as it is up to 50% cheaper when compared with other storage power methods. In addition to that, the device makes use of lithium ion technology rather than traditional lead-acid designs such as deep cycle batteries. This makes the battery much safer.   The Powerwall is also an integrated and automatic solution, which eliminates the hassle of handling traditional battery banks. A further benefit is that the Powerwall isn’t only charged by the photovoltaic (PV) system, but also from the electric utility itself during off-peak hours, when energy is cheaper.  The energy stored is then used during peak hours, changing the solar power game completely.   Although it may still be early days, this lithium battery technology will definitely help make battery equipped PV systems more safe, simple and affordable.   Lithium battery manufacturing method breakthrough   A recent lithium battery manufacturing breakthrough, pioneered by MIT researchers and Cambridge-based company 24M, may be able to cut production costs of lithium ion batteries in half, opening up massive opportunities for renewable energy.   After decades of little change in how lithium ion batteries have been produced, MIT professor and 24M co-founder, Yet-Ming Chiang, believes that their team has developed a new manufacturing process that allows for a drastic decrease in battery cost, as well as an increase in durability.   In short, the new process makes use of fewer, much thicker electrodes that allow for a simpler and more efficient battery structure. This manufacturing method reduces the amount of non-functional material in the battery structure by 80%, producing batteries that can be bent, punctured or folded without failing.   Traditional manufacturing demands lengthy reel-to-reel drying spaces, meaning that large factory space is necessary. The 24M design avoids drying altogether, reducing the size of the factory required. This innovative process also reduces manufacturing time by about 80%, completely changing the economics of the solar power industry.   Make your solar power dream a reality with Soventix   With such innovative and exciting technologies taking place, now is definitely a great time to invest in solar power. South Africa has world class solar power potential, with more than double the solar radiation output of Europe. Besides the advantage of beating Eskom and load shedding, mass clean energy solutions are crucial to preserving our planet.   For more information about solar power installation and financing, fill in our contact form so that we can provide the best solutions for you.   Or you can contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
An interesting trend has begun to take hold within the South African mining industry: they’re discovering renewable energy. One of the major reasons for this shift is the unreliable nature of Eskom. The availability of a reliable electricity supply is vital to ensuring uninterrupted production in the mining industry. Traditionally, when confronted with load shedding, mining companies were forced to face the undesirable choice of either reducing operations or turning to costly diesel generators.   As a result, alternative energy sources, such as solar power or wind power, are deemed to be viable options for mining companies to invest in, as they ensure continuous production. Prices of green energy solutions have dropped dramatically in recent years, further strengthening the case for renewable energy South Africa to be implemented throughout the mining sector.   Renewable Energy used to save Costs   Energy costs within mining can constitute to anywhere between 15% and 40% of the operating budget. Implementing renewable energy as an alternative energy source not only ensures continuous energy supply, but can also reduce energy costs.   The renewable energy team at Hatch, a Canadian engineering company, indicated that integrating hybrid renewable energy solutions to existing diesel systems can cut energy costs by 10-20%. This practice has already taken off within South African mining, with renewable energy independent power producer developer, CRONIMET Mining Power Solutions, operating a photovoltaic/diesel hybrid system for a chromium mine in Limpopo. This system has replaced 30% of the mine’s annual diesel demand.   As a result of the ever-increasing fuel price, running diesel generators to power mining operations in remote regions, or during rolling blackouts, can greatly increase energy costs. Besides the amount spent on fuel, transportation of that fuel can also contribute towards the mine’s heightened expenses. Replacing or supplementing costly generators with green energy is attractive as it is estimated that solar and wind energy is roughly 70% cheaper than electricity from diesel, even though the precise amount of diesel fuel consumed by mines is not often disclosed.   Mining as an Untapped Market   Renewable energy technologies are well suited for mining projects in remote regions that have little to no access to established electrical grids. This is thanks to the fact that these locations already have the necessary land required for small solar and wind turbine farms.   While many mines discard this option due to the large up-front expenditures attached, many green energy developers are willing to invest through rental or power purchase agreements (PPA), allowing mines to pay for power over time.   Financing through Soventix   Soventix is a market leader in solar power system financing and installation, operating with the belief that no project is too big or too small. We understand the potential that the sun has to supply energy efficiently and effectively, which is why we strive to turn your solar dream into a reality.   For more information about our solar system solutions, be sure to fill in our contact form.   Or you can contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Soventix is proud to announce that our 40.29 kWp High Output Energy System has been completed at the beautiful Quiver Tree Apartments in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Quiver Tree is known as the ultimate slice of real estate, with a number of fantastic accommodation options. This large scale outdoor photovoltaic (PV) project is one of many in Soventix’s quest to transform South Africa into a global leader of green energy.   With great facilities at Quiver Tree and breathtaking scenic surroundings, all just a stone throw away from the centre of Stellenbosch, one may think that there was no way to possibly improve perfection. This is where Soventix stepped in, upping the ante by pulling away from traditional energy, developing and implementing clean energy solutions guaranteed to leave the town, country and planet smiling. While no solar power project is too big or too small for us, the bigger the project, the greater the results!   Solar Power Project’s Technical Information   The Quiver Tree Solar Project, which was completed in Stellenbosch, South Africa during September 2015, is proud to possess a 40.29 kilowatt-peak (kWp). The large scale PV system uses Yingli 255W Solar Modules and utilises a SMA STP 20000TL-30 inverter.   Here’s an easy-to-read technical rundown of our Quiver Tree Solar Project:  
Technical information
PROJECT Quiver Tree Apartments
LOCATION Stellenbosch, South Africa
SIZE 40.29 kWp
MODULES Yingli 255W
INVERTER SMA STP 20000TL-30
COMPLETED September 2015
    Turn your solar dream into a reality with Soventix   Soventix understands the sheer potential that the sun has to supply energy efficiently and effectively. Solar power South Africa is bigger than ever before and we strive to create tailored solar power solutions that cater to your every need. Whether you’re searching for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar solutions for your home or business, or whether you dream of a large scale commercial solar project, Soventix is the perfect match for you.   We specialise in solar project development and solar financing. To find out more, please fill in our contact form.   Or contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

In our constant quest to supply energy effectively and efficiently, Soventix is proud to announce that we have completed our latest large scale outdoor PV system at ACA Threads in Brackenfell, Cape Town. This high output energy system supplies the local sewing thread manufacturers with a 131.04 kilowatt-peak (kWp).   ACA Threads, which forms part of the international ACA Group, took the first step towards green living, implementing a significant recycling project a few years back. Soventix was more than happy to aid them in the next step, playing a vital role in the large scale solar panel installation process. We are glad to add ACA Threads to our extensive list of South African solar projects.   About the ACA Threads Solar Power Project   The ACA Threads photovoltaic (PV) system, completed November 2015, boasts a 131.04 kWp. With Canadian Solar 260W modules and an ABB TRIO-27.6-TL inverter, this large scale outdoor PV system assists in stamping solar power Cape Town on the map. Through successful solar power project development and financing we aim to promote efficient energy use, fuelling the countrywide effort to reduce electricity demand.   Here’s an easy-to-read technical summary of our completed ACA Threads Solar Power Project:  
Technical information
PROJECT ACA Threads
LOCATION Cape Town, South Africa
SIZE 131.04 kWp
MODULES Canadian Solar 260W
INVERTER ABB TRIO-27.6-TL
COMPLETED November 2015
  The full Soventix EPC approach   Our experienced and professional staff live and breathe photovoltaic systems and the implementation of solar power. We refuse to compromise on quality, offering our clients the full EPC approach. This means that we will deal with the engineering and design stages, the procurement of components, as well as the construction of the solar system.   Our solar power packages are tailor-made for every project and customer, with our engineers taking the specific requirements of both location and customer into account. This allows us to provide you with accurate cost estimates and detailed financial overviews of your photovoltaic system.   For more information, please fill out our contact form. Or contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

The first question most people ask when thinking about investing in solar is whether their premises is suitable, followed quickly by, “will I be saving in the long run?” The answer to this, is yes! When researching how much you can potentially save with a rooftop solar array, it is important to remember that no single project is the same, and that a number of factors can play a role. These factors include the location, the size of the system, the type of panels and the inverter used, to name a few.   Is Solar Power suitable for my property?   The first step Soventix will take towards turning your solar power dream into a reality is to send one of our friendly engineers to your home or business. They will then evaluate the solar potential of the property. Here are some questions to consider before starting your quest towards efficient and effective renewable energy:  
  • Are you the homeowner or someone who has written permission to install solar from his or her landlord?
  • Do you live in a townhouse complex or estate? If yes, you will need written permission from the body corporate. The same can be said for an office complex.
  • Do you have a solid roof?
  • Do you have at least 14 to 15 square metres of rooftop space available for solar power to be beneficial?
  Where will I save?   Considering all the variables, it is impossible to put an exact number on how much you can save with solar power. It is easier to focus on the variety of areas in which the user will be able to save. Let’s discuss three of the major saving areas that solar power allows:  
  • Electricity bills: While the initial up-front cost of installation may be high, once installed, solar power systems require very little maintenance. It is important to remember that solar panels have a very long lifespan, being able to provide power for up to forty years. With four decades of saving on electricity bills, the average South African family can aim to save around half a million rand, discounting inflation. It is clear to see why solar power systems are not a short-term energy saving method, but offer massive savings in the long run.
  • Property Value: While this may not be a direct saving, having a rooftop solar array installed will allow for greater appreciation on your home or building’s value. It will also play an important role in ensuring a higher resale value. With the modern property market, knowing that you have some long-term financial security provides peace-of-mind.
  • Electricity tax: With the ongoing energy crisis in South Africa we can expect Eskom to continue raising the electricity levy each year. With no clear end in sight, your electricity bill will likely suffer. Installing solar power will allow you to rest easy each night, knowing that electricity tax will not be breaking the bank.
  Solar project development through Soventix   Seeing as every solar power project is unique, the best way to discover how much you could potentially save is by filling in our contact form online. We will arrange a visit to your property where our engineers will then provide you with an accurate cost estimate, as well as a detailed overview of all the financial aspects of your desired photovoltaic (PV) system.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

With the ongoing energy crisis within South Africa, countless homes and businesses are investing in solar power as a reliable solution. As an increasing number of businesses and household solar power systems pop up around the country, many people are left wondering about how to actually start their solar project.   Rooftop solar panel installation is not a short-term solution, but rather a long-term solution that pays off handsomely in the long run. As one of the leading names in South African solar photovoltaic (PV) plant development, Soventix strives to help you turn your solar dream into a reality.   Questions to consider   While our friendly engineers are ready and waiting to answer all your questions, here are some that you should consider before taking the step towards efficient and effective green living.  
  • Am I the owner of the building? If not, do I have written permission to install solar on the property?
  • Do I live in a residential estate, or work in an office complex? You will then require written permission from the body corporate.
  • On average, how much electricity does your home or business use each month?
  • Do you have a solid roof, or an open area that is north, west or east facing?
  Starting your project through Soventix   Once you have filled in our online contact form, we will contact you and arrange a meeting. Our engineers will then visit your premises in order to evaluate its solar potential. With solar projects of any size, planning is crucial. Through expert design and careful planning we will test sustainability, economic value as well as ecological value.   As a solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, we handle the complete process, providing quality control throughout. As a result of our extensive planning process, our solutions are tailor-made, meaning that you only pay for what you need.   We also offer solar power financing solutions, working closely with financial institutions that specialise in renewable energy. We will define an extensive financial plan and evaluate your capital needs based on your financial situation. In addition to this, we will also inform you about tax breaks and other benefits of having a solar system installed. We work closely with our clients, identifying possible government grants, supporting you through the application process.   Contact Soventix today   Investing in solar power has never been easier. Simply fill out our short contact form and one of our solar experts will be in touch. If you have any further questions or inquiries, you can also contact us via:   Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

Thanks to the ongoing energy crisis, more and more South Africans are turning to rooftop solar as the solution. While solar power for your home is on the rise, many people are still unsure about what rooftop solar panel installation actually entails. As one of the leading solar energy equipment suppliers, Soventix’s solar experts are here to answer all your questions.   Soventix prides itself on turning your solar power dream into a reality, regardless of how big or small your desired project may be. We specialise in the building and operating of solar farms, dealing with the engineering stages, the procurement of components as well as the construction of the solar system.   Let’s explore the home rooftop solar panel installation process a little closer:   Is your home suitable for solar power?   In our quest to provide solar power for your home, the first step is assessing whether your residence is suitable for solar power. We’ll send one of our trusty engineers to your home, where he will evaluate the solar potential of your property or estate.   Soventix has played a key role in installing a number of large scale residential solar projects around South Africa, including the recently completed high output energy system at the Quiver Tree Apartments in Stellenbosch. This project supplies the residence with a 40.29 kilowatt peak (kWp).   When it comes to solar panel installation, planning truly is everything. Soventix will test sustainability, economic value as well as ecological value, making sure that you are 100% informed.   Installing the inverter   The inverter is an important component of the larger solar power project. The inverter, which is usually installed on your home or garage wall, converts the direct current (DC) generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC), which is what the utility (and your home) uses.   A national legal framework for commercially viable net-metering schemes is in the process of being developed. While feeding generated power back into the utility is still rather limited within South Africa, solar power potential is quickly being recognised. This could hopefully lead to much higher energy savings in the near future.   The solar panels   Mounting of photovoltaic (PV) panels is a rather quick job, involving the fixing of multiple frames to your roof. The panels are then fixed onto the frames. If you have a flat roof, installation will take a little longer, as the panels will need to be mounted at an angle.   Depending on the scope of the solar power project, rooftop panel installation usually takes between one and three days to complete. Panels are typically insured to last a minimum of 25 years, with very little maintenance being required. In order to maintain full efficiency, you will likely need to have the panels cleaned once a year. Soventix offers a complete maintenance package which includes cleaning and area maintenance.   Adding solar storage batteries   While you don’t necessarily need solar storage batteries to enjoy the many advantages of solar power, if you are seeking to beat load shedding, then batteries are a must! The batteries store electricity generated by the solar panels for periods when there isn’t sufficient sun, or power coming from the utility.   Manifest your vision with Soventix   Where many simply see an empty rooftop or an open field, we see a solar power project waiting to happen. We strive to supply the world with efficient and effective renewable energy solutions, restoring our beautiful planet one solar power project at a time.   If you are ready to take your first step towards green living, please fill in our contact form. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Many businesses are turning to solar power in an attempt to overcome the energy crisis within South Africa. Besides the benefit of reducing operation costs, business solar solutions make it possible for you to achieve round-the-clock electricity, allowing you to keep on winning, even when Eskom feels otherwise.   As a solar power engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, Soventix strives to provide businesses with the perfect large scale outdoor solar solution. As a result of technological advances and the push towards greater solar efficiency, rooftop solar power and other high output solar solutions have become commercially viable. Added with the fact that energy prices in South Africa are constantly increasing, escalating at a 10% average each year, commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems are quickly becoming increasingly more common around the country.   When it comes to choosing the best solar energy solution for your business, the first question you need to ask is which type of system is best for you. While no two solar projects are identical, the two main business solar models are the Grid-Tied System and the Grid-Interactive System. Let’s explore what these systems entail.   Grid-Tied Systems   Grid-Tied solar PV rooftop systems are the most common type of solar PV installation worldwide, with about 93% of all PV systems being grid-tied. These systems do not store their generated energy in battery banks, but rather work in conjunction with the utility in an effort to cut energy costs.   Depending on the size of the Grid-Tied system, they can either assist in cutting energy consumption through Eskom, or can be designed for close to 100% self-consumption usage. This fine-tuned investment results in zero wastage and high return of investment, allowing you to only make use of utility power during emergency situations.   While net-metering (feeding excess energy back into the utility) is still rather limited within South Africa, Eskom has begun understanding the sheer potential solar power possesses. A national legal framework for commercially viable net-metering schemes is in the process of being developed, which will greatly boost commercial and residential solar power savings.   Select municipalities now allow a limited amount of excess energy generated by solar systems to be off-set against energy usage, while others have begun allowing bi-directional metering. This means that consumption is billed at a pre-determined rate, and energy fed back into the grid is reimbursed to the consumer at a separate energy rate. While these processes are still in the beginning stages, it shows that South Africa is becoming aware of the effectiveness of solar generated power.   Grid-Interactive Systems   These systems offer businesses with more choices and greater flexibility, while providing them with energy reliability. They can best be described as a combination of Grid-Tied systems and Off-Grid systems with an added battery bank. This means that commercial Grid-Interactive systems make use of battery banks to store generated energy, allowing them to remain active during grid-failure.   Commercial Grid-Interactive systems allow your business to remain operational during load shedding, and can make use of the national grid as a backup energy source during bad weather days or when intensified energy consumption is required.   Power is Money – Start your Solar Project with Soventix   Tapping into the full power of solar requires thorough design, careful calibration of solar technology and expert project financing. Let Soventix lift that weight off your shoulder, assisting you with the entire process from concept to completion.   If you are ready to turn your solar power dream into a reality, please fill in our contact form. Or you can contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Due to the ongoing energy crisis and unreliable nature of Eskom, many South Africans are turning to solar power as the solution. Whether you’re looking at rooftop solar for your home, or commercial solar solutions for your business, investing in this renewable energy comes with an almost endless list of solar power advantages.   South Africa boasts some of the highest solar power potential worldwide, with more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged each year. This potential, added with the recent solar technology advances, means that an increasing number of South Africans can now benefit from solar power. Let’s discuss some common solar power advantages, as well as explore the specific benefits of a solar business.   Ongoing Free Energy   One of the biggest advantages of solar power is that it does not require any expensive and ongoing raw materials, such as coal or oil, to generate energy. Solar power also requires significantly lower operational labour than conventional power production, making it more widely affordable.   Due to these reasons, beyond initial installation and maintenance, photovoltaic (PV) panels will provide you with ongoing energy, with production costs that remain constant for the entire calculated period.   Reduces Electricity Bill   When it comes to solar power pros and cons, cutting your home or business energy costs is definitely one of the main advantages. Since some (or all) of your energy needs will be met with the electricity generated by your solar system, your energy expenses will drop.   While feeding solar generated power back into the utility is still rather limited within South Africa, a national legal framework for commercially viable net-metering is currently in the process of being developed. This will hopefully lead to much higher energy savings in the near future.   Energy Reliability   Load shedding can wreak havoc on your business, forcing you to stop operations. While many businesses turned to generators as a solution, they soon found out that the increasing cost of fuel, the tedious chore of refuelling and the extreme noise pollution didn’t make them viable long term solutions.   With the aid of solar financing, investment in commercial solar systems have become a viable solution, allowing your business, or home, to harness the sun’s energy so that you can rest easy knowing that your future will be bright.   Protection against Changing Utility Rates   As demand for energy rises and non-renewable resources shrink, the cost of electricity goes up. Investing in a solar system means that you are protected against any electricity tariff hikes in the future. This plays a huge role in easing business stress.   Earn the “Green” Label   By making use of alternative energy solutions, your business or company can express its participation in the battle against global warming. This helps promote a countrywide effort to reduce electricity demand by shifting towards efficient energy use. Going green not only helps reduce operation expenses, but also serves as a great PR and marketing tool, generating a positive response from your customers.   Turning your Solar Dream into a Reality   With many advantages and a constant push towards affordability, the question should no longer be “why do I need solar”, but rather “when can I get solar?” Soventix strives to turn that solar power dream into a reality, supplying the world with effective and efficient energy solutions one solar power project at a time.   If you are ready to soak up the sun, please contact us so that we can provide the best solutions for you.   Or contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
While we have already discussed many benefits of rooftop solar energy for the home, one of the biggest concerns as South Africans is home security. Our ongoing energy crisis, in the form of load shedding, can leave homes in a vulnerable position, without lights, alarms and other security measures. This is where solar powered security systems come in, quickly becoming financially viable and beneficial across South Africa.   Investing in rooftop solar panels is not only a great way to lower energy costs, it is also a perfect way to ensure your home and loved ones feel safe, even when Eskom decides to engulf your neighbourhood in darkness. Let’s explore some of the reasons why solar powered home security systems are the way to go.   1. Load shedding can cause conventional alarm systems to malfunction   With load shedding and extended utility down time, conventional alarm systems often experience a number of annoying issues. Alarm batteries suffer, struggling to recharge in many areas. This leads to additional maintenance and system reprogramming, at your expense. This can lead to the lifespan of the battery being affected, causing them to go flat quicker, leaving your alarm system unpowered at critical times.   Solar alarm systems, on the other hand, will continue to operate flawlessly during load shedding, when your premises is most vulnerable. You can rest easy knowing that your alarm system is fully functional throughout the load shedding period.   2. Reduced false burglary and panic signals   One of the most annoying aspects of flat alarm system batteries is that they often cause false burglary or panic signals to be sent. This can become tiresome and cause unnecessary stress. Alarm system batteries powered by solar power means that the batteries will not run flat, allowing you to say goodbye to technical false alarms.   3. Keep your security lights shining   Homes are vulnerable during load shedding because the darkness allows undesirables to lurk around unseen. Homes with rooftop solar energy and solar storage batteries don’t have this problem, as they are able to power their security lights, exposing any hidden dangers.   4. Power electric fences, garage doors and gate motors during load shedding   When Eskom cuts the power, conventional electric fences, garage doors and gate motors often become non-operational. This is not only annoying, but can make the lives easier for burglars. With the correct rooftop solar system, these features can remain functional, allowing you some peace-of-mind.   5. Dropping price of rooftop solar systems   Thanks to technological advances and the constant push towards solar efficiency, rooftop solar is quickly becoming a viable and affordable option for many South Africans. These affordable prices, added with the benefits mentioned above, help make solar powered security systems stand out against conventional ones.   Establish your solar powered home today   Where you see an open roof, Soventix envisions a rooftop solar project waiting to happen. We strive to supply effective renewable energy solutions that are tailor-made for your specific needs. If you are ready to take your first step towards reliable energy, please contact us now.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
One of the key ambitions when the first PV cell was designed, was a world where solar powered vehicles outnumbered traditional, polluting vehicles. While an absolutely massive amount of time has gone into evolving solar power technology, solar transportation still seems somewhat out of reach for most people, but that is rapidly changing.   While solar transportation is popular in first world countries, the potential for solar powered vehicles within developing countries is colossal. Having to constantly fork out large amounts of their already thin income on fossil fuels causes immense strain on individuals struggling to make ends meet each month.   Three final year students at the University of Nairobi in Kenya have stepped up, developing Ecotran, a system that captures the sun’s energy and stores it in a portable battery. This battery is then used to charge a motorcycle’s electric motor.   Taxi motorbikes are a huge industry within Kenya, employing thousands of young people. This is where the students got their inspiration. Besides riders having to pay for their own fuel, many of them don’t actually own the bikes, but rather ride leased machines, adding an extra expense.   Motorbikes can currently run for 70km on a fully charged battery, although improving efficiency is an ongoing aspiration. The team was recently awarded $100 000 by the United States African Development Fund and Power Africa, which they will use to upscale their project, allowing its reach to expand.   Local potential   The potential of solar transportation within South Africa is massive. Many jobs involve considerable amounts of driving, which can be a nightmare due to the constantly rising fuel prices. As a result of technological advances in solar efficiency, solar transportation is quickly becoming a financially viable solution for many. While the Kenyan project focused on motorcycles, solar is already being used in South Africa to power a number of road vehicles across various industries.   Solar power also looks to revolutionise local public transportation, with a number of trains already being fitted with rooftop solar photovoltaic panels. While green energy transportation projects around South Africa may still be in their early days, the future is definitely bright, as government and large businesses begin to understand and capitalise on this fantastic energy solution.   Making your solar dream come true   Soventix has played a significant role in developing a number of high output commercial solar systems around South Africa. We recently completed a 40.29 kilowatt-peak project at Quiver Tree in Stellenbosch, as well as a large scale PV system at ACA Threads, Cape Town.   Through professional project development and solar financing we strive to turn your solar powered dream into a reality. We don’t see open spaces, we see potential solar projects.   To find out more about our tailored solar solutions, please fill in our contact form. You can also contact us at: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Eskom has finally begun to acknowledge the huge solar power potential that South Africa has, and its ability to reduce stress on our already strained national grid. South Africa’s Department of Energy announced earlier this year that it would be expanding opportunities for the private sector to contribute to the production of power, bringing with it a number of promising solar power projects to look forward to.   To date, more than 6 000 Megawatts (MW) of electricity has been procured from 37 renewable energy independent power producers (IPP), with a number of solar projects in South Africa still on the horizon.   When it comes to Eskom and renewable energy, one of the most exciting projects recently announced is the 1 500 MW solar project that will soon be launched in the Northern Cape. This project is added to the growing list of renewable energy programmes, helping South Africa to stamp their name as one of the global leaders of renewable energy.   Renewable programmes leading to broader empowerment   While electrification and grid support is obviously two of the main goals of these programmes, broader empowerment is also an important focus. Job creation, economic development, social upliftment and broad based economic empowerment are important features.   Soventix playing its part   Through the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP), Soventix has been able to construct a number of large scale solar parks around the country, allowing us to feed clean energy back into the national grid.   Soventix has also played a key role in developing a number of commercial high output energy systems. These systems provide our clients with energy reliability and electricity savings. Our latest completed projects include a 131.04 kWp solar system at ACA Threads in Cape Town and a 40.29 kWp system at Quiver Tree, Stellenbosch.   We are firm believers that no project is ever too small, having also provided a number of homes with solar panel installation.   If you are interested in solar panel installation for your home or business, do not hesitate to contact us online today.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
If we have any hope of holding onto the natural beauty of our world, it is important that each and every person makes an effort to do their part towards a greater green initiative. South African music and lifestyle festival, Rocking the Daisies, are doing their part and leading from the front.   Besides providing activities that aim to wake the eco-warrior inside all of us, the festival undergoes a full, comprehensive eco audit each year, undertaken by Steadfast Greening, an independent organisation. Here are some of the major green goals that were implemented in 2015 in an attempt to reduce the festival’s carbon-footprint.   Solar Power Utilised   One of the festival’s stages, aptly named The Hemp Stage, as well as the expanded Green Village area ran off solar power. The festival aimed to make use of 12 solar panels of 345 watts each. This provided a total of 4.14 kilowatt peak that was stored in 12 x100Ah/12volt batteries.   Environmentally-conscious vendors occupied The Green Village area, engaging with festival attendees about environmental and community action. A number of easy and accessible green initiative strategies were also promoted.   Bio-diesel generators   In a push to reduce their carbon-footprint, all the generators, except those on the main stages, ran off a ‘green’ bio-diesel mix. Bio-diesel is much more environmentally friendly compared to regular diesel, producing 75% less exhaust smoke emissions and 80% less carbon dioxide emissions.   The Greenpop “Trees for tickets/trees for prizes” campaign   Rocking the Daisies and Greenpop, one of their sponsors, encouraged the planting of trees by giving away free tickets to anyone who planted 8 trees.   Why stop at 8 though? Fantastic prizes were provided to the 10 people who planted the most trees in total. Everything from backstage passes to one-night hotel stays were on the line, fuelling everyone to do their part.   Green brigade & Trashback Campaign   A clean up team, called the Green Brigade, led by employees of the Hotel Verde, swept through the campsite each morning. As volunteers joined in, a procession was created, encouraging campers to clean up their waste.   The innovative Trashback Campaign was simple, hand in trash and get beer in return. To sweeten the deal even more, grand prizes were offered to the person or team that brought in the most litter each day. Cigarette stompies are one of the main trash issues at outdoor festivals, which is why they were chosen as the litter item of choice. By the third day, over 475 beers had been happily exchanged for about 39 900 stompies, proving the massive success of the campaign. Eco-friendly Transport Options   In a push towards reducing carbon-footprint, a number of eco-friendly transport options were offered. “Walking the Daisies” is a two-day hike that starts in Cape Town and ends at the festival in Darling. This has become a widely acclaimed event that aims to create and promote positive environmental action and awareness. “Cycling the Daisies”, a one-day cycling trip that ends at the festival is a new initiative that was developed off the back of the ever popular Walking the Daisies. “Bussing the Daisies” offers busses to and from Cape Town, aiming to lower the number of cars making the journey to Darling.   Car-pooling incentives were also provided, presenting 2 000 priority parking bays for cars with 4 or more people inside.   Taking the Green Initiative Step   One thing is clear, we are all called to do our part to preserve the climate – we cannot achieve this alone. If you are ready to take your first step towards green living, and wish to utilise solar power for your home or business, fill in our contact form so that Soventix can provide you with the very best, tailor-made renewable energy solutions.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za
While South Africans have enjoyed some months free of load shedding, Eskom CEO recently told Parliament that the utility is expecting rolling blackouts to return during winter of 2016. That means that South Africans will have to take a page out of Game of Thrones and begin to fear winter. Whether we’re talking about businesses or homes, load shedding can wreak havoc, leaving people feeling like they have hopped in a time machine and returned to the dark ages.   An increasing number of people have seen the light (of the sun), and turned to solar power as a solution to our energy crisis. Large scale outdoor photovoltaic (PV) systems have started popping up around the country, and many homes have turned to solar panel rooftop installation.   Solar power not only leaves the planet smiling, but also allows you to laugh all the way to the bank, as you enjoy all the saving benefits. Besides cutting energy consumption, this long-term energy solution allows businesses and homes to enjoy energy reliability all year round.   When searching for household solar solutions, the first decision you will have to make is what type of system you are after. Let’s break it down into the three major types: Stand-alone, Grid-connected and Hybrid.   Stand-alone solar system: Also known as off-grid, this system operates independently from the national grid. These systems make use of solar storage batteries to store generated power, allowing your home to remain powered at night or during terrible weather.   Grid-connected solar system: These tend to be the most popular type of solutions found within South Africa, operating in conjunction with the national grid. Grid-connected systems are great for reducing your monthly electricity bill, and can potentially save you from load shedding if solar storage batteries are added.   Hybrid solar system: This can best be described as the best of both, either as a grid-connected system with extra battery storage or as off-grid with utility backup.   Soventix – your trusted solar partner   Soventix strives to provide effective and efficient solar solutions that excite our clients and contribute to a better future. Rather than seeing open rooftops or fields, we see potential solar projects waiting to take form.   Through professional project development and solar financing, we are ready and waiting to turn your solar powered dream into a reality. If you are ready to take the first step towards a rooftop solar life, please fill in our contact form so that we can provide you with the very best solutions available.   We love hearing from you! If you have any question or inquiries, you can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Solar power technology is playing an important role in empowering disadvantaged communities that don’t have access to electricity, providing better safety and work opportunities along the way. A number of creative and innovative projects have been implemented in an effort to improve the living conditions of people living within informal settlements across the country.   Millions of South Africans cannot afford housing and are left with no other choice but to live in shacks made of corrugated iron. One of the main problems with this is that corrugated iron is a highly flammable material. As there is usually no access to electricity, many people living within these settlements make use of candles or paraffin for lighting, and wood fires for cooking, meaning that shack fires have become dreadfully common.   Solar technology advances and cheap solar power projects aim to save lives and remove the fear that your home and belongings may disappear in a puff of smoke. Let’s take a look at some of the fantastic renewable energy projects that are improving informal settlements:   Generating Electricity – Shining a Light in the Darkness   The iShack Project   Started in 2011, the iShack Project uses solar technology to improve household living conditions and meet basic energy needs at an affordable price. The project drew the attention of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the government’s Green Fund, with both playing a part in funding. The iShack Project consists of a photovoltaic solar panel capable of producing enough electricity to power two lights, a cell phone charger, an external security light and a television set. Over 1000 solar home systems have been installed in the Enkanini informal settlement to date.   Shacurity Solar Lighting Kit   Shacurity, by i Power SA, is a solar powered shack fire prevention kit. The kit consists of a solar panel, panel mounting stand, LED lights, 12 V socket for a cell phone charger, a mini fire extinguisher and a control unit that includes a 120 DB siren that can be triggered by a panic button or an optical smoke detector. Kits are built with locally manufactured panels, designed for robustness, cost effectiveness and long service life. Kits are easily expandable with more lights and power to ensure that every home is well catered for.   “The Lightie” Solar Bottle Light   South Africa is filled with incredible inventors like Michael Suttner, who developed The Lightie. Built into a cheap acrylic soda bottle, this low cost solar powered light makes use of lithium battery technology to supply homes with 40 hours of light from just 8 hours of sunlight. This simple solution outputs 12x more light than a paraffin lantern and can even be charged during cloudy or rainy weather.   Total Awango solar range   Total Awango offers a range of solar powered products that are aimed at providing a reliable and affordable energy solution to disadvantaged communities. Products range from simple solar lamps which can stay lit for up to eight hours to more advanced lamps with built-in universal cell phone chargers which can last up to 100 hours. Lights have been manufactured to deliberately be moved around the house, making them portable and easy to carry. In 2014 Total Awango sold over 500,000 lamps in South Africa, and they are aiming to sell at least 1 million lamps by the end of 2016.   Lumkani’s Fire-Detection Device   Lumkani is a fire detector and alert service that uses radio technology and solar power, making it perfect for informal dwellings. The initiative was recently chosen as one of the overall winners in The Venture, a competition that rewards the next big idea in social enterprise. What sets this device apart from others is that it is designed to detect heat, rather than smoke, since a great deal of heating and cooking equipment used within informal settlements are often smoky by nature. If the alarm is not switched off within 20 seconds, it will trigger all the neighbouring alarms within a 60 metre radius. This promotes a community-wide response. The alarm has a solar powered internet gateway that sends an alert SMS to community leaders. This feature can also be set to alert disaster management services, sending the GPS co-ordinates of the device for convenience.     Solar Powered Geysers   In 2008, when load shedding first took hold of South Africa, government launched its solar water heating rebate programme. While Eskom was unable to meet their target of a million solar geysers installed by 2013, having only installed 400 000, the solar technology potential still looks promising. The project plans to be moved to the department of energy by the end of January 2016, where it will hopefully be bolstered. The installation of 400 000 systems makes this one of the largest solar water heating programmes worldwide, which will hopefully bring hot water to many more low cost homes in the years to come.   Going solar with Soventix   If you are interested in solar panel installation for your home on business, fill in our contact form so that we can provide you with the best possible solutions.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Whether we’re talking about saving the planet, or saving you money, the subject of solar power technology is certain to come up. Both commercial solar power, as well as household solar have a large number of great advantages. These advantages, added with the ongoing energy crisis, means that solar power installation is quickly becoming increasingly common across the country.   Solar panels should not be seen as an immediate, short-term energy solution, but rather as an energy investment that pays off handsomely in the long run. If you are still unsure whether the PV panel life is for you, let’s discuss some of the major solar power advantages.   Slowing Global Warming with Clean Energy   While this may not be an individual advantage, global warming threatens the survival of our entire planet. Solar power has stamped its authority as one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis, allowing us to produce renewable and clean energy.   The ongoing effort to increase solar efficiency means that solar technology is constantly evolving. These technological advances have made it possible for rooftop solar and other high output solar solutions to become commercially viable.   Renewable Free Energy   One of the main reasons that solar power installation is a great long-term investment is the fact that it doesn’t require any ongoing and expensive raw materials to generate electricity. Besides the initial installation cost and odd maintenance, solar power will provide you with ongoing free energy with production costs that remain constant for the entire calculated period.   Cut energy costs   Cutting your home or business energy costs is undoubtedly one of the biggest solar power pros out there. Since some, if not all, of your electricity needs will be met by the energy generated by the solar system, your electricity bill will drop.   While Eskom is still working out the kinks of feeding solar generated power back into the utility, they have definitely begun to notice the massive potential that solar power has. This will hopefully lead to much greater energy savings in the not-too-distant future.   Shielded against changing utility rates   If recent events have taught us anything about government, it’s that things can change in a heartbeat. As energy demand skyrockets and non-renewable resources vanish, the cost of electricity will rise. Investing in solar power means that you are shielded from the inevitable electricity tariff hikes of the future.   Reliable Energy   With summer here in full swing, the threat that load shedding will peep its horrible head out again is a reality. Load shedding can force businesses to halt productions and leave households feeling stranded. Thanks to solar financing, investing in commercial solar systems have become a viable solution for many local businesses. Homes and businesses that use the sun for their advantage can rest easy knowing that their future is bright.   Plan your Installation Today   Soventix is a leading name in solar plant development, having installed a large number of commercial and household solar projects to date. Where most see an open rooftop or an empty field, we see an innovative solar project waiting to take shape.   If you are ready to take your first step towards efficient and effective energy living, fill in our contact form today. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Before investing in solar power, it is important to have a clear understanding of what electricity consumption entails. Many people have no idea where to begin when it comes to calculating personal electricity expenses or understanding how electricity consumption varies between appliances. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand how your electricity bill is calculated.   How is the utility electricity price determined?   An independent collective of experts, known as the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), determine the prices we are charged by utilities like electricity. The price of electricity is determined by considering the cost to the supplier and what a reasonable rate of return would be on the regulatory asset base.   NERSA currently operates on a 5-year Multi-Year Pricing Determination plan which is due to end in March 2018. This is done so that the increase in the cost of electricity per year is more predictable.   How is a unit of electricity measured?   While we measure the power of an electrical appliance in watts (W), the amount of energy converted in a one hour period is known as kilowatt-hours (kWh). Units of energy purchased for paid meters or displayed on our electricity bill are equal to the kilowatts of electricity consumed per hour. In other words, 1 unit of electricity is equal to 1000 watt-hours (Wh) or 1 kWh.   How much electricity will an appliance use?   An appliance will use its wattage worth of electricity in an hour, if left on and uninterrupted. In other words, a 100 watt light bulb will use 100 watt-hours of electricity in one hour and 200 watt-hours if left on for 2 hours.   Saving with solar   Cutting electricity costs with solar is easy, considering that some, if not all, of your electricity needs will be met by the energy generated by the solar system. Another of the many solar power advantages is that it protects you from the inevitable electricity price hikes of the future.   While still in the early stages, the idea that you will be able to feed excess generated solar power back into the national utility at a separate energy rate means that greater savings will be achieved when you have a low electricity consumption.   Turning your solar dream into a reality   Soventix strives to provide effective and efficient clean energy solutions that are tailored for the specific client’s needs. Through project development and solar financing, we can turn any solar dream into a reality.   Are you ready for a solar powered life? Contact us today and take the first step towards cheaper and cleaner living. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
As 2016 rapidly approaches, South Africans are left wondering whether the ugly beast, known as load shedding, will peep its head back up and ruin everyone’s fun. The load shedding schedule has looked promising recently, with only a small number of areas being affected over the past few months. Eskom CEO told parliament that the utility is expected to remain strong until at least April 2016, when winter returns.   As many businesses take a break during the holiday season, electricity demands are less strenuous. Eskom plans to capitalise on this, stepping up their maintenance on their ageing fleet of power stations during this time.   This Eskom news means that we are on track for a summer free of load shedding, but it seems ambitious to expect no load shedding at all during the course of 2016. As the energy crisis persists, more and more people are turning to solar power as a way of beating the inevitable rolling blackouts.   Thanks to load shedding woes and an ongoing push towards greater solar efficiency, both household rooftop solar installations and commercial large scale solar projects have become financially viable. Photovoltaic (PV) systems should not be seen as a short-term energy solution, but rather a long-term investment with many added advantages.   Finding your ideal solar solution   Soventix specialises in the building and operating of solar farms across South Africa. We have completed a number of large commercial solar plants as well as helped households harness the power of the sun for their gain. Our experts live and breathe solar power, envisioning solar projects on every open rooftop or empty field that they come across.   Have you had enough of Eskom’s blunders? Are you ready to experience the joys of reliable energy? Then contact us today and let us provide you with the perfect solar solution.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
While South Africa may be leading the continent’s solar power charge, Kenya has taken a massive step towards a greener future by switching on Africa’s largest solar carport system. This commercial solar project aims to cut carbon emissions by around 745 tonnes a year, approximately 18 625 tonnes over its entire lifespan.   The 858 kWp solar carport system is made up of 3 300 solar panels and will generate 1 256 MWh a year. Besides providing shade, electricity generated by this system will be used by the retail tenants to power mall facilities such as lights and escalators.   The highly innovative carport has been designed using a solar hybrid system. This means that during the daylight hours the system generates solar electricity, allowing it to use much less energy from the grid. The hybrid technology enables the carport to run in tandem with a diesel generator. When the sun hides its face, the mall can easily switch over to grid energy, or the backup generator, should the grid go down.   This project once again shows the huge potential that the private sector has in allowing commercial and industrial clean energy solutions to become financially viable. While the solar component of the greater Garden City Mall development was always recognised, the upfront costs were prohibitive. Thanks to solar financing by SolarAfrica, Garden City did not need to pay all of the upfront costs of the system, allowing the project to take shape much faster than initially imagined.   This process forms one of the main visions of Soventix, providing large scale PV integration across South Africa, and the world, via Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Through solar financing solutions, as well as the entire engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) process, we strive towards making solar power installation financially viable to every business, no matter the size.   A rapidly increasing number of businesses and homeowners across Africa are looking to invest in solar power thanks to the multiple benefits it affords. In a land of poor infrastructure and an ageing fleet of power stations, long-term energy reliability and electricity savings play a vital role in securing the future of your home, business and planet.   Your effective and efficient solar panel system is just a few clicks away. Be sure to fill in our contact form so that we can provide solutions that are tailored around your vision.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
South Africa’s tourism is about to get a little greener as Robben Island prepares to switch on the solar panels that will allow the island to run entirely off the power of the sun. This project is the first of a larger Tourism Incentive Programme that plans to retrofit a number of South African National Parks, botanical gardens and World Heritage sites with renewable energy.   Robben Island holds the title as one of the world’s top tourist attractions, thanks to its rife history. The prison-turned-museum currently depends entirely on diesel generated electricity, making it both expensive and bad for our planet. This project aims to contribute towards the countrywide effort to reduce electricity demand, shifting towards clean and efficient energy solutions.   Tourism plays an important part in South Africa’s economy, contributing nearly 10 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014. The Tourism Incentive Programme not only aims to strengthen our economy, but also introduce a number of new job opportunities for our people. Besides targeting popular tourist spots, the programme also includes community-based projects, particularly with communities that don’t have immediate access to the national grid.   Local truly is lekker, as the solar panels will be made using technology that is South African intellectual property. The bulk of the components required would be local as well.   Soventix stands behind this project as it further illustrates that the future of solar power in South Africa is a bright one. Our land boasts some of the highest solar power potential worldwide, enjoying more than 2 500 hours of sunshine averaged a year. Many businesses and households have taken the first step towards harnessing the power of the sun for their gain, and now that Government has hopped aboard, widespread clean and effective renewable energy is sure to follow.   Are you ready to discover how solar power can work for you? Fill in our contact form so that we can provide you with solar solutions that are tailor-made with your goals in mind. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
A few years ago, solar panels were a rare sight in South Africa. They were largely limited to a few rooftops within affluent neighbourhoods. This is rapidly changing though, thanks to three significant factors: the global push towards renewable energy, a steady drop in solar panel prices due to technological advances, and a local landscape with a highly strained electricity supply.   Following the lead from other countries, South Africa has committed to an energy generation infrastructure development plan for 2010 to 2030. The plan aims to achieve 9 600 MW of solar power capacity by 2030, easing the strain on our ageing fleet of power stations.   Recent analysis by leading solar photovoltaic development authority, Wiki-Solar, currently ranks South Africa as 10th in the list of leading countries for the deployment of utility-scale power stations of 4 MW and up. As at the middle of 2015, South Africa had 26 completed utility-scale solar plants with a cumulative capacity of 1 013 MW.   The future of renewable energy in South Africa looks bright, as a number of large scale solar power projects are expected to be completed. Solar power South Africa offers great potential, allowing local and foreign investors to play an important role in developing and constructing large scale solar parks that can feed clean energy into the national grid.   According to Wiki-Solar, South Africa has a further 18 utility-scale solar plants currently under construction. Once these are completed, they will feed an extra 1 063 MW back into the grid. Besides pushing us further up the Top 10 list, these plants play an important role in making it considerably less likely that the country will suffer load shedding during 2016.   While load shedding schedules have looked promising, predictions calculate that the utility is expected to remain strong until at least April of this year, when winter returns and power consumption rises. Hopefully with swift and efficient renewable project developments, this may be avoided, and winter can remain bright.   Save with Solar Power   Besides allowing for energy reliability, investing in solar power as a long-term energy solution brings with it a list of great saving opportunities. Your electricity bills will lower as your property value rises.   Soventix offers a large variety of solar installation and maintenance solutions. Whether for residential, industrial, agricultural or utility purposes, we have you fully covered. Be sure to fill in our contact form so that we can provide you with tailor-made solutions that will turn your solar power dream into a reality.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za   Be sure to follow us on social media to stay updated with the world of solar power.  
South Africa has now connected more than a gigawatt of utility-scale solar power, placing it 10th in the world of countries harnessing renewable energy from the sun, according to figures released during last year by Wiki-Solar. Wiki-Solar is a leading authority on the development of utility-scale photovoltaic power plants of 4 megawatts (MW) and up.   China currently sits at the top of the list for utility-scale solar power with 370 solar plants, generating a cumulative capacity of 11 965 MW. China is followed by The United States (10 548 MW), United Kingdom (4 136 MW), Germany (3 641 MW), India (3 241 MW), Spain (1 527 MW), Japan (1 443 MW), Canada (1 378 MW) and France (1 321 MW).   This places South Africa in 10th position with 26 solar plants, contributing 1 013 MW to the country’s electricity grid.   The majority of these plants were built under the first round of the government’s renewable energy programme for private producers. With several solar projects still under construction, and a number of new contracts for further projects being signed, South Africa is very likely to climb further up Wiki-Solar’s rankings.   According to the latest capacity table, there are 18 utility-scale solar power stations currently under development in South Africa. These 18 plants are expected to contribute a further capacity of 1 063 MW. The future of solar South Africa definitely looks bright.   This forms one of the driving forces behind Soventix, allowing us to play a vital role in providing a cleaner and greener future. Through the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP), we are able to construct large scale solar parks, making it possible to feed clean energy into the national grid by means of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).   There is no project too big (or small) for Soventix, as we offer tailored solar solutions within the residential, industrial, agricultural and utility sectors. Fill in our contact form today if you are interested in solar power installations or have any questions.   You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za Be sure to follow us on social media to stay updated with the world of solar power.
As a result of our strained national grid, along with the worldwide shift towards clean energy, a growing number of businesses and individuals have begun to acknowledge the massive potential that solar power in South Africa holds.   Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront has taken a big step towards reducing their environmental footprint by starting installation of more than 7 500 m² of solar panels. These rooftop photovoltaic panels will be installed on eight key buildings on the 123-hectare property, including the Watershed, the Two Oceans Aquarium and Ports Edge.   This R20 million large scale solar project is set to produce an estimated 1 640 000 kWh units of clean energy annually, and reduce the carbon emissions by 1 610 tonnes per year. The average daily production will be 4 495 kWh.   This project will conserve an estimated 1 721 956 kWh annually, or the equivalent of the energy required to power 574 four-person households.   Soventix leading from the front   As a global player in solar power project development and EPC, Soventix is proud to play a vital part in building a greener future. We have completed a substantial number of solar power projects, ranging from residential rooftop installations to industrial and commercial solutions.   The journey from inception to completion of a photovoltaic system is complex. The success of a project is determined by careful project management and development that always maintains a clear perspective of the client’s interests and requirements.   Soventix works closely with financial institutions that specialise in renewable energy, allowing us to provide you with effective and efficient solar power solutions that excite. Everyone is required to do their part if we are going to successfully guarantee a bright future for generations to come. If you are interested in solar solutions for your home or business, please fill in our contact form today. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za   Be sure to follow us on social media to stay updated with the world of solar power.  
Soventix is proud to announce that we are playing a significant role in Mr Price Group’s endeavour to reduce their energy consumption by 12% at their Head Office complex. It warms our hearts to join forces with big brands in a combined effort to contribute towards a better and brighter future. One thing that is undeniably clear is that we are all called to do our part to preserve the climate for ourselves and future generations. No one can achieve this monumental feat alone!   Understanding the Solar Power Project   A solar power rooftop installation recently kicked off at the Mr Price Group Head Office in the sunny KwaZulu-Natal city of Durban. This exciting 212 kW rooftop solar solution is an important ingredient in the Group’s effort to cut their carbon footprint and reduce energy costs and consumption.   Exploring the Solar Components   Soventix is one of the leading names in solar power engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), meaning that we nurture the project from inception to completion – and beyond! This rooftop solar solution will make use of Canadian solar panels and reliable SMA inverters.   Understanding Rooftop Solar Panel Installation   An increasing number of homes and businesses have begun turning to rooftop solar installation as a way to combat the ongoing energy crisis and rising energy costs. In our quest to provide solar power solutions to all, the first step is determining whether your property is suitable for solar power. After filling in our quick and easy contact form, one of our friendly energy professionals will evaluate the solar potential of your premises. The success of a project is determined by careful project planning, development and management. Through expert design, careful planning and sustainability testing, we ensure that our clients receive the very best bang for their buck!   If you have any further questions or inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Here at Soventix our primary goals are simple, exciting our clients with effective and efficient solar power solutions while contributing towards a cleaner future along the way. In the spirit of showcasing some of our best projects, both big and small, we’ll regularly post updates so that our readers can stay informed. We’re glad to announce that we have a new project taking shape in the Chloorkop area of Gauteng, near the O.R Tambo International Airport.   Understanding the Project   This fantastic 150.52 kW grid-tied solar project is due to start at the beginning of March 2016. The site of this combined ground and rooftop mounted solar solution will take shape in an old quarry which is currently used as a scrap metal yard. This solution plans to make use of 265 Watt Canadian solar panels, utilising 5 Huawei inverters. We are proud to provide our clients with a reliable energy solution that aims to play a vital role in cutting their energy costs.   Understanding a Grid-Tied Solar Power System   Grid-tied solar power systems, also known as grid-connected or on-grid, tend to be the most common solar solution and run in conjunction with the national grid. These systems are perfect for cutting energy costs as they allow you to generate a large amount of the energy required to power your business or home. This fine-tuned solar power investment results in zero wastage and high return on investment, allowing our clients to only make use of utility power during emergency situations.   What about Net-Metering?   While feeding your excess energy back into the utility for compensation is still somewhat limited in South Africa, Eskom has definitely begun to understand the massive potential that solar power possesses. Select municipalities now allow for a limited amount of excess energy to be off-set against energy usage, while others have begun allowing bi-directional metering. This means that your consumption is billed at a pre-determined rate, where energy that is fed back into the grid is reimbursed to the consumer at a separate energy rate. Although these processes are still in the beginning stages, it paints a good picture for the future of solar power South Africa. This will hopefully help boost the amount of commercial and residential savings that solar power installation presents.   Light up your Life with Soventix   Where most see an empty rooftop, or an old quarry, we see a solar power project waiting to take shape! Step 1 of turning your solar dream into a reality is filling out our quick and easy contact form. Our energy specialists will get back to you with a tailor-made energy solution. If you have any questions or inquiries, feel free to contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
As South African solar power continues to grow, an increasing number of solar power installation companies have begun popping up. As a leading name in solar power EPC ranging from domestic rooftop installations to commercial and industrial solar solutions, we have decided to put together a list of important considerations to keep in mind when searching for the perfect solar power installer.   What types of solar systems do they offer?   If you’re going to be forking out thousands on a solar solution, it’s important to make sure that your installers are using top quality equipment that works well together. The perfect solar power installer should be able to provide you with an accurate energy estimate for how much your system will produce each year. Soventix strives to go above and beyond, testing sustainability, economic value as well as ecological value, ensuring that our clients are fully informed along the way   Find out how long they’ve been in the solar installation business   While every “master” had to start out as a “beginner”, when it comes to solar, experience matters! When someone is attaching heavy, expensive equipment to your roof and connecting it to your electrical system, you most definitely want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Asking to view their company credentials will help prevent any possible stress and headaches in the future. Many solar power installation companies make use of subcontracting for different parts of the project, which can leave you feeling in the dark. Soventix is proud to have over 15 years of solar experience behind us. We are fully involved with the solar project from inception to completion – and beyond!   Learn what is under warranty and for how long   One of the best ways to compare solar installation companies is by asking them what happens if something goes wrong. Things to consider include:
  • What is covered under product warranty and how long does the coverage last?
  • Who pays for labour and shipping to replace defective components?
  • Is there a warranty on the installation itself?
Discuss the different payment options   There are multiple ways to pay for solar power solutions, but not all companies will offer every option. It is important to discuss payment options upfront so that there isn’t any confusion in the future. This also makes it possible for you to compare payment options with other bids received. Soventix works closely with financial institutions that specialise in renewable energy. We provide clients with a well-defined financial plan and evaluate your capital needs based on your financial situation. We also endeavour to inform clients about tax breaks and identify possible government grants, supporting you with the application process.   Realising your Solar Power dream with Soventix   With a long list of happy clients, Soventix strives to be your perfect solar power installer. To begin your solar installation venture today, simply fill out our contact form. You can also contact us via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

Through our quest to provide efficient and effective solar power solutions to our clients, we have come across a number of frequently asked questions. In an effort to promote clarity, let’s discuss some of the most popular solar power FAQ:   Solar Power Definitions   What is kilowatt peak (kWp)? This refers to the output power achieved by a solar module under set standard test conditions. This standardised test for panels across all manufacturers ensures that the values listed are capable of comparison. In South Africa, 1 kWp of solar panelling will generate approximately 1 710 kilowatt hours per year.   What is a kilowatt hour (kWh)? This is a measure of energy and is used to define the amount of energy used over a one-hour period. This is conventionally the unit of power referred to on your electricity bill.   PV System Size How large an area is required for a 2 kWp system? A rooftop solar area of roughly 15 square metres will enable you to produce approximately 3 420 kWh of electricity per year.   What Size PV System do I Need? While there are a number of factors involved in calculating the perfect photovoltaic system size, most homes tend to install systems between 2.450 and 4 kWp, which are capable of generating 4 190 – 6 840 kWh per annum. To find the ideal PV system size for your needs, contact Soventix today.   General Solar Power Questions   How does a Solar PV System work? A standard PV system is made up of Photovoltaic (PV) panels and a solar inverter. The PV panels transform the energy from the solar rays into Direct Current (DC), while the inverter converts the DC into Alternating Current (AC), which is the type of energy required for the normal functioning of appliances.   What is a Hybrid Solar Power System? Hybrid Photovoltaic Systems are composed of PV panels, an inverter and a solar battery. Excess energy is stored in the battery, which can then be used in the evenings, during bad weather and in cases of load shedding.   How quickly will my solar PV system pay back its installation cost? Solar power installation is a long-term investment. Depending on the size of your solar system, it can take between 5 and 8 years to pay for itself. After this period, it will save you money for the remainder of its life.   How can Solar Installation save me money? One of the main ways you can save with solar is by cutting energy costs. Making use of solar power will also help shield you against changing utility rates. Rooftop solar installation also plays a role in allowing your property value to prosper.   What is the expected lifespan of a solar panel? While a PV panel can generate power for over 40 years, the expected lifetime of a panel is between 20 to 25 years of optimal production.   I have more questions! Understanding solar power is complex and can take time. If you have any more questions – or are ready to start your solar venture, please fill in our contact form. You can also contact us directly via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
If you think that Brad and Angelina are the perfect match, then you obviously haven’t realised the many advantages that solar power and farming offer. Thanks to recent solar technology advances and the constantly rising price of electricity from the grid, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are no longer something that you only see on a select number of roofs around South Africa. Solar power solutions can play a vital role in cutting energy costs and allow you to beat load shedding. We all know that solar power is great for heating water, but did you know that the perfect farming solar solutions can provide you with many other useful functions across the agricultural sector too?   Harvest More from Nature with Soventix   As a leading name in solar power EPC, all you need to do is sit back and relax while Soventix gets the job done from inception to completion – and beyond!   Lock in your savings by going solar! How much is fuel for generators and power from the national grid costing you? We will test sustainability, economic value and ecological value, allowing us to provide you with accurate cost estimates. Cut your energy costs and save with solar power!   Solar is easy! From concept to project and beyond, our extensive planning will keep you 100% informed and covered.   Low upfront! Gone are the days where solar power installation left your bank account crying. Through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and solar financing, solar power installation has become available to the masses.   Complete maintenance is offered by Soventix, which includes solar panel cleaning and area maintenance.   Total experience! With over 15 years of solar experience, a quick look at our completed projects is all that’s required to prove that our client’s leave smiling.   Where many see an open field or an empty rooftop, we see an effective and efficient solar power project waiting to take shape! Are you ready to turn your solar dream into a reality – and reap the rewards?! Then contact us today! You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
While New Year’s resolutions often don’t make it all the way to April, if one of your resolutions was to lower your electricity bill, then you should greatly consider switching to a renewable energy solutions such as emission-free solar power. No matter how big or small a purchase may be, a smart consumer always does some research before committing, making entirely sure that they have picked the best option. As a leading name in Solar Power South Africa, dealing with the engineering, procurement and construction stages of solar installation, Soventix has compiled a short solar power guide.   How does Solar Power Work? Our scorching sun is a naturally occurring nuclear reactor that releases tiny packets of energy known as photons, which travel from the sun to the earth in about eight-and-a-half minutes. Every hour, enough photons impact our planet to theoretically satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. Our ability to harness the sun’s powerful energy is rising, with solar efficiency and technology improving and costs dropping rapidly. A standard solar photovoltaic (PV) system is made up of PV panels and a solar inverter. The PV panels transform the solar energy into Direct Current (DC), while the inverter converts the DC into Alternating Current (AC), which is required for the normal functioning of appliances.   How much do Solar Panels Cost? It’s important to remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to estimating the cost of installing a solar power system. The costs of a rooftop solar installation will depend on multiple factors, including:
  • How much sun your rooftop location receives
  • The size of your rooftop
  • The amount of power that you use
  • The solar financing option that you choose
  • What solar power incentives your municipality offers
Soventix will start the solar power installation process by sending an engineer to evaluate the solar potential of your property.   The Solar Installation Process With solar projects of any size, planning is crucial. Soventix prides itself on expert design and meticulous planning, testing sustainability as well as the economic and ecological value of the project. As a Solar Power EPC, we handle the project from inception to completion, keeping our clients completely informed along the way. Find out more about installing solar power on your roof.   Achieving Powerful Returns with Soventix Soventix supplies clients with effective and efficient solar power solutions of every shape and size. Contact us if you have any further solar power questions, or are ready to realise your solar power dream! You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  

Soventix has been closely following the creative solar energy Solar Impulse 2 initiative and its quest to circle the globe without using a single drop of fuel. When last we checked in, the craft had just completed its historic 7 200 km flight across the Pacific Ocean, touching down in Hawaii. While the plane suffered some setbacks due to overheating batteries which left it grounded, it’s just about ready to resume the exciting quest. After being halted some 19 957 km into its epic 35 000 km flight, the team has completed its repairs. Repairs included the installation of new batteries, stabilisation and cooling systems, enabling it to take to the air once again in a 90-minute test flight. The test flight saw the plane ascend to 2 438 m (8 000ft) above the Pacific Ocean, allowing the crew to observe the new renewable energy system in action and report that everything ran according to plan. Since the first test flight, two further flights have been conducted with the aim of allowing Swiss aviator, Bertrant Piccard, the chance to re-familiarise himself with the aircraft’s system and handling. Airbrakes and emergency procedures were also tested during these flights. Following the success of further test flights that aim to simulate night and day conditions, the team are confident that the next leg of their around-the-world journey will continue near the end of April. This journey will see the Solar Impulse 2 take off near Pearl Harbour on the island of Oahu as it heads towards Phoenix, Arizona. If all goes as planned, the craft will then head from Phoenix to New York and then take a trans-Atlantic trip to Europe that would eventually see it returning home to Abu Dhabi in the UAE.   What does this mean for the Future of Solar Power? Soventix recognises the massive and necessary potential that solar power technology offers. With the constantly rising price of electricity, an increasing number of individuals in both the residential and commercial sectors have begun acknowledging the many benefits that solar power solutions can offer. The Solar Impulse team said it best by noting that very often we find big obstacles, but very often those big obstacles lead us to find a better way. Soventix strives to provide clients with effective and efficient solar solutions that will help them overcome future obstacles.   Contact us today if you are ready to take the first step towards achieving your solar power dream. You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Solar power South Africa has ramped up its green credentials by unveiling a number of new and exciting solar power projects. With the combination of the Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) and business and residential independent power producers, South Africa is well on its way to becoming a global leader of green energy. Wiki-Solar recently ranked South Africa 10th globally for solar power, according to figures released at the end of 2015. With a number of utility-scale photovoltaic power plants still in the developmental stage, and a number of new projects in the pipeline, we hope to see South Africa shoot up even higher in the ranks. Let’s look at some of the exciting solar power projects taking shape around the country.   George Airport - Africa’s First Solar Powered Airport Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, George Airport will meet 41% of its energy demand from a brand new 200 square metre solar power plant built on its grounds. This project is part of the Department of Transport’s commitment to reduce the load on the country’s constrained power grid and to contribute towards sustainable development. The solar power facility is comprised of 3 000 photovoltaic modules and will gradually increase capacity to deliver 750 kW power when it reaches full production. This ground-breaking initiative shows us that government understands the potential that solar power offers and that it’s on track in transitioning South Africa to a low-carbon, climate resilient and resource efficient economy and society.   Latest in South Africa’s REIPPP Near the end of 2015, the South African government announced a number of new projects in the fourth round of the REIPPP, bringing the total number of approved projects up to 79. One of the latest solar energy projects which forms part of this programme is the 86 MW photovoltaic farm that will begin construction in the Northern Cape in 2017. The project was awarded to China-based JA Solar and two South African partners, Black Enterprise Empowerment and Solar Capital. The industrial-size solar farm will use JA Solar’s P310 W high efficiency multi-crystalline silicon modules.   Latest Solar Projects by Soventix As a leading name in solar power South Africa, Soventix is proud to play a role in elevating South Africa as a global leader in renewable energy. Our 212 kW rooftop solar solution in Durban is aiding Mr Price in their endeavour to reduce their energy costs and consumption, as well as cutting their carbon footprint. Our thrilling 150.52 kW grid-tied solar project in Gauteng has begun to take shape, providing our client with a reliable energy solution that aims to cut energy costs.   There is no project too big (or too small) for Soventix! Contact us today and realise your solar power dream. You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
After the load shedding scare experienced midway through April, South Africans were once again reminded about the realities of our ageing fleet of power stations and the possibilities of load shedding peering its horrible head out once more. On the 12th of April 2016 during power system stress-testing, multiple trips of units at three power stations were experienced. These trips of units resulted in a loss of 3 535 MW, forcing Eskom to stabilise the power grid using five diesel generators. According to Eskom, the problem arose after an earth fault at the high voltage yard at Tutuka power station. Due to the interconnectedness of the power system, two units at the Drakensberg Pumped Storage and three units of the Majuba power station were offline.   Future of Load Shedding in South Africa   Eskom seems confident that the South African load shedding situation has become a thing of the past. Public Enterprises Minister, Lynne Brown, announced in her National Assembly budget speech that there is no forecast for load shedding in the winter months to come. She added that Eskom has also managed to reduce its diesel costs from R800m to R40m since October last year. While Eskom remains positive, stating that load shedding was avoided after the multiple trips due to the resilience of the power system, the confidence of many South African consumers remains low.   Economic Slowdown Ends Load Shedding   While the load shedding schedule remains positive, many economists feel that the outlook has less to do with what the state power utility is doing and more to do with an economic slowdown. With the drop of energy demand in the mining sector, added to the fact that many homes and businesses have turned to solar power energy solutions as a way to beat the rising energy tariffs, load shedding may be gone – but for how long? According to Soventix power experts, if the commodities situation improves over the next year, the likelihood of power cuts returning will be greatly increased.   Eskom’s Plan to Ensure Maintenance without Load Shedding   The latest Eskom news states that there is a robust plan in place to ensure that maintenance can take place without the threat of load shedding. A major aspect of the plan includes a strict winter and summer maintenance budget that comprises 11.5GW for summer and 8.5GW for winter.   Going Solar with Soventix   With the uncertainty and unreliability of the national energy grid, added to the rising electricity tariffs in South Africa, going solar is an attractive solution that many homes and businesses have already turned to. Soventix strives to supply effective and efficient energy solutions, with solar financing options that make going green a realistic option for many South Africans. As a solar power engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, Soventix manages the project from start to finish – and beyond. This allows our clients to reap the energy benefits of solar power, without having to deal with the stress and hassle that is often attached. Contact Soventix to discover your solar dream. You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
Reduce where you can, offset where you can’t. When it comes to climate change and keeping our planet as green and beautiful as possible, everyone is required to do their part. There are numerous easy and effective ways to go about reducing your carbon footprint, whether it’s at home or at the office. The Soventix solar photovoltaic projects, both large and small, form part of our contribution towards a better future. Each solar installation aims to advance climate protection and combat climate change. Installing home and business solar power solutions is a significant step towards reducing your carbon footprint. Although before you go about turning your solar dream into a reality, you should be sure to reduce your energy consumption as much as possible as it will allow you to keep your solar costs to a minimum. Let’s discuss some easy ways to lower energy consumption at the home and office.   Reduce Carbon Footprint at Home   Appliances All household appliances are required by law to present labels that accurately reflect their energy efficiency. This allows consumers to make an informed decision regarding long term energy savings and value for money. Appliances in South Africa are ranked on an energy efficiency scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient and G the least. Many appliances also contain ratings by Energy Star, a US-based organisation that tests energy efficiency. Lighting Besides their unique shapes, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use 75% less power than traditional incandescent lights. While more expensive, LED bulbs are even more efficient and last 130 times longer than CFLs. Insulation Insulation, caulking and weatherstripping work hand-in-hand and play an important part in reducing energy use and improving home comfort. Energy Efficient Showerheads and Toilets Low-flow showerheads are affordable and can cut your hot water consumption by 25-60%. Installing smart-flushing or duel-flushing systems on your toilet will also help lower your water and electricity bill.   Reduce Carbon Footprint at your Office   Computer Power Management Enabling your computer’s power management options will allow your computer and monitor to shut down when not in use. Smart Printing In an attempt to avoid printing, consider saving files to a flash drive or emailing them (even to yourself) for easy access. If printing can’t be avoided, consider double-sided printing in order to save paper. Efficient Transport Forming carpool groups with work colleagues or making use of public transport options is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. If possible, consider cycling to work. If your profession allows it, consider working from home whenever possible. Be Waste Wise Recycling doesn’t have to feel like a chore when it’s made easy. Keep paper recycling bins in convenient locations around the office, like next to the copier. Be sure to have clearly labelled bins in central locations around the office in order to make recycling easy.   Go Solar With Soventix   Now that your energy consumption has been addressed and your carbon footprint improved, it’s time to step up your game and make your solar power solution a reality. As a solar EPC company, Soventix will manage your installation from start to finish – and beyond. Contact us today for more information. You can also contact us directly via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za  
The newly repaired Solar Impulse 2 has successfully finished the ninth leg of its round-the-world journey after it was grounded in Hawaii for 10 months. The plane touched down at Moffett Airfield in California’s Mountain View on the 23rd of April 2016. This flight saw the Solar Impulse 2 travel over 62 hours across the Pacific Ocean, flying more than 4 000 km without fuel. The creative solar energy initiative was started to show the potential of solar power technology and encourage people to protect the quality of life by making use of energy efficient renewable energy solutions.   Setting Records   The unique solar powered, electric plane is now three-quarters of the way through its revolutionary journey. While records are still to be verified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), during its latest flight, the Solar Impulse team believe the plane broke records for duration, speed, distance, altitude and altitude gain for an electric plane. The plane reached a maximum altitude of 28 000 feet (8 534 metres), travelling a distance of 4 522 km at an average speed of 65 km/h. The plane produced 1 121 kWh of energy using the 17 000 solar cells located on its wings. Custom-made solar batteries were used to supply electricity at night. View the Solar Impulse 2 Hawaii to Mountain View highlights video.   The Solar Power Initiative   “Solar Impulse is showing what we can do with clean technologies,” said pilot and Solar Impulse founder, Bertrand Piccard. “It is more than an aeroplane: it is a concentration of clean technologies, a genuine flying laboratory, and illustrates that solutions exist today to meet the major challenges facing our society”. He added that “a clean revolution is now on the move and people who understand this will be successful in the future.”   The Round-the-World Journey   The final quarter of the journey will see the Solar Impulse 2 travel towards Phoenix, Arizona, where it will cross the United States as it heads towards New York. The aircraft will then make its transatlantic trip to Europe that would eventually see it returning home to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.   The Efficient Energy Message   The Solar Impulse message is clear, we can’t afford to sit back and wait for others to save the place we call home, we need to get up and be the change we wish to see in the world. Soventix strives to provide homes and businesses with the opportunity to go green without stress and the financial burden attached. With tailor-made solar energy solutions and solar financing that carries both financial and social benefits, Soventix endeavours to turn your solar power dream into a reality. Support your planet and beat the rising electricity tariffs in South Africa along the way. Contact Soventix today. Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za Source: Solar Impulse  
While South Africa is leading the push towards clean energy, solar power Africa is not too far behind. This is evidenced by Morocco recently turning on the first part of Noor complex, the soon-to-be world’s largest concentrated large scale solar plant. The entire project aims to be fully completed by 2018. When completed, the Noor complex, a massive solar farm covering 1 000 acres outside of Ouarzazate in Morocco, will become the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has been marked as prime location for solar power infrastructure based on a number of factors. The region offers massive amounts of undeveloped space that frequently receive powerful sunlight. There is also a great need for cost effective and efficient energy production in the region. The nearby city of Ouarzazate has experienced many problems, like malfunctioning hospital equipment, as a result of inadequate power generation. The Noor complex project is expected to significantly benefit the region. Morocco currently makes use of imported fossil fuels for 97% of its energy consumption. The Noor project forms part of the country’s effort to set up and implement sustainable power plants which aim to cover 42% of Morocco’s power needs by 2020.   Understanding Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)   Concentrated Solar Power plants do not harness energy in the same way that typical solar cells do. A typical solar solution, such as what Soventix specialises in, generates electricity from light through semiconductors that are subjected to the photovoltaic effect. Concentrated Solar Power plants, on the other hand, use lenses or mirrors in order to concentrate sunlight onto a small area. This creates concentrated heat that heats up a liquid in order to create steam and drive a turbine to generate energy.   Unique Energy Storing at Noor Complex   The Noor complex solar plant uses a unique method to store energy during the night. This is done by using solar thermal energy in order to melt cylinders full of salt that are able to retain their heat sufficiently enough to provide three hours of power after the sun has gone down.   Discover your Perfect Solar Power Solution at Soventix   With constantly rising electricity tariffs in South Africa and the global push towards sustainable energy solutions, Soventix offers tailor-made solar power solutions to clients in both the commercial and residential sectors. With professional project development and solar financing options, there’s truly no project too big (or small). Contact us today to find out more about turning your solar power dream into a reality. You can also contact us direct via: Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333 Email: info@soventix.co.za