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Life after coal: CER is now solar-powered

October 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm

The new, solar photovoltaic installation, and some of the recently installed double glazed windows, can be seen in this image of the Springtime Studios building in Cape Town where the CER’s offices are located.
The new, solar photovoltaic installation, and some of the recently installed double glazed windows, can be seen in this image of the Springtime Studios building in Cape Town where the CER’s offices are located.

A new, rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on Springtime Studios, the Cape Town building in which the CER has its offices, will save 94,604 litres* of water per year, and reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 63 tons** annually. Any excess electricity produced is fed into the grid for access by Springfield Studio tenants when it is dark, in a system made possible by the City of Cape Town’s small-scale embedded generation programme (SSEG).

The switch to solar is an initiative of Heron Square, the owners of Springtime Studios.

In September, 127 PV panels were fitted to the approximately 300 square metre rooftop of our building in Observatory, Cape Town, by Solanergy and Solar MD over a period of three days. The new system went into operation on Sunday, 22 October and produces 192 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity daily, which is sufficient to power a significant proportion of the building’s electricity consumption each day. Excess electricity generated over weekends or holiday periods is fed into the grid and “bought back” at a reduced rate when Springtime Studios tenants require it to ensure both an uninterrupted power supply, and that every kWh produced by the new system is utilised.

The PV installation follows the introduction of double glazed windows to the CER’s office space in special investments that Heron Square director Tom Figl describes as “responsible and smart – for business and the environment”. He says: “At current electricity prices, the savings effected will see full cost recovery in approximately four years, but everything is 100% tax deductible in year one. As significant as the business case, is the reduction in environmental impacts. Every business owner in SA should be taking decisive action to save water, reduce emissions, and limit the environmental impact of their operations.”

“Every South African is entitled to the cheapest, cleanest, greenest electricity. South Africa’s plentiful renewable energy sources – which also don’t cause death and ill health like coal – should be available to all South Africans – particularly as these are officially cheaper than electricity from coal,” says CER Executive Director Melissa Fourie.

The CER forms part of the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign with partners groundWork and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg. We discourage investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines; accelerate the retirement of South Africa’s coal infrastructure; and enable a just transition to renewable energy systems for the people.

* Equivalent to three people’s annual water consumption on current City of Cape Town water restrictions. Eskom’s coal-fired power plants require 1.35 litres of water to produce 1kWh of electricity.

** Eskom coal plants expend on average 0.9Kg of carbon dioxide per kWh produced.

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Report a Violation

National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

Contact us

  • Telephone:+27 21 447 1647
  • Fax:+27 86 730 9098
  • Email:info@cer.org.za
  • Address:Second Floor, Springtime Studios, 1 Scott Road, Observatory, 7925, Cape Town
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