Green estate using Solar Power in South Africa

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    A UNIQUE residential estate going up on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay will be the first in the region to use embedded power generation on a large scale, allowing home owners to live free of Eskom.
    Thanks to permission from the municipality and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), the 1000ha Royalston residential estate along Kragga Kamma Road will be a pilot project for the large-scale use of “embedded power generation”.

    The Bay is leading South Africa in embedded power generation.

    People who buy a plot and build a home within the estate will be able to have solar photovoltaic panels installed on their roof.

    “We saw there was a great opportunity to develop this area,” project manager Nick Howcroft said, adding that part of the eco estate was recently gazetted as a nature reserve by the Economic Development and Environmental Affairs Department.

    At an additional cost of between R200000 and R300000 per house for the solar panels – over and above the plot, priced from R500000, and the cost of building the house – the “green” electricity generated will be enough to meet the power needs of a household, with any excess power being fed back into the municipal electricity grid.

    The build-up of an electricity credit with the municipality will allow the “green” credits to be used during the winter months.

    It is estimated, in the case of households paying between R1000 and R1500 monthly for Eskom electricity, that the solar power system will pay for itself over 10 years, taking into account further steep Eskom price hikes like the 25% mooted for July.

    Head of projects within the metro’s electricity and energy directorate Peter Nielson said the Bay was leading South Africa in embedded power generation within households, which would greatly reduce reliance on Eskom. “The Bay was the driver behind Nersa approving the automatic licence waiver for embedded generation facilities of less than 100 kilowatts and is in the process of creating an implementation methodology for this approval to be put into practice,” Nielson said.

    This waiver means households generating their own electricity – typically up to 5 kilowatt hours – do not have to get special consent from Nersa to do so, in what can be a painstaking process.

    Nielson added: “It will be exciting to see how the green energy complements and adds to savings on the load profile of the municipal grid.”

    Royalston Estates, owned by Kevin Eke, is planning to open the sale of 240 residential plots to the public at the end of next month.
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