Western Cape Government leading the way in energy and water savings
The Western Cape Government is set to save R500 000 per annum in electricity costs from solar PV panels on the rooftops of its buildings in Cape Town.
Today, 19 October 2017, Premier Helen Zille visited the rooftop at 9 Dorp Street in Cape Town’s CBD, where the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works has installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
So far, four provincial government buildings have solar PV systems installed – 9 Dorp Street, 27 Wale Street, the Library building project in Alfred Street in Cape Town, and the Vangate Shared Services Centre in Athlone.
With the help of solar PV, the Western Cape Government’s building at 9 Dorp Street will make an approximate saving of R10 643 per month. The building has 164 panels with a 51,7 kilowatt peak (kWp) capacity.
For the other projects:
- the building at 27 Wale Street will save around R3 200 per month, with 51 solar PV panels and a capacity of 16 kWp;
- on Alfred Street in Cape Town, the Library building project will save approximately R10 100 per month. It has 240 panels and a capacity of 75,60 kWp; and
- the Vangate Shared Services Centre will save approximately R17 900 per month, with 345 panels and a capacity of 108,68 kWp.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is saving an estimated 25 600 litres of water a day after converting 320 conventional flush urinals into waterless facilities in all provincially-owned CBD buildings. The second phase of this programme will extend the roll out of waterless urinals to facilities outside the city centre.
Further water-saving measures are in the pipeline:
- Flow restrictors are being fitted on hand-wash basins wherever possible to reduce the amount of water they use. “Push” taps that let out a set water allocation are also on the cards, as are dual flush cisterns to control the litres used in each flush. This forms part of the Province’s Office Modernisation Programme.
- Strict water consumption standards will be applied to all new buildings and renovations. This includes water-wise air-cooling systems instead of air-cons, and black water treatment systems where possible. A maintenance team is on high alert to quickly respond to reports of water leaks.
- The Province is also tapping boreholes at Health and Education facilities. Progress on this will be communicated to the public on a regular basis by the Department of Transport and Public Works.
Premier Helen Zille said: "Given the current Drought Disaster and previous experience with electricity load-shedding in 2014/15, it is important for government, business and the whole-of-society to change their relationship with our precious, shared resources. We are adopting a more sustainable approach and we encourage households and businesses to do the same".
Further information on the Western Cape’s Energy Security Game Changer
The programme focuses on enhancing the uptake of solar PV, and encouraging residents and businesses to become energy efficient. Municipalities are also supported to better manage their electricity load and move towards private energy trading within their local boundaries.
The vision is to generate enough power from low-carbon, sustainable sources to grow businesses and sustain households in the Western Cape. Abundant sunshine across South Africa means that solar energy offers an optimal and cost-effective solution.
Solar PV tend to pay for themselves through electricity savings over time. This makes the initial investment in a solar PV systems sensible for longer-term savings.
For example, the provincial government spent R5.8million installing Solar PV in 4 CBD buildings, but will recover this through R500 000 in electricity savings each year.
Further benefits of going solar include:
- the reduction of carbon emissions;
- reducing dependence on expensive grid electricity and protection against future electricity price increases;
- the system has a 25-year warranty and the payback period of a commercial installation can now be less than 10 years;
- the installation is tax deductible for businesses. When procuring a PV system, businesses can qualify for the 12B tax incentive, which provides accelerated depreciation on PV systems under 1 MW, with 28% of the PV system’s costs being saved; and
- you receive a feed-in tariff: in 13 out of 25 municipalities in the Western Cape, a private solar PV installation can generate its own revenue through a “feed-in tariff” for excess electricity fed back into the municipal grid.
The Western Cape Government is working with municipalities to enable solar PV users to feed electricity back into the grid. Municipalities are assisted to comply with the relevant small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) rules and policies. The Province’s special purpose vehicle, GreenCape, is on the frontlines of providing this expert support to municipalities. By August this year, 13 municipalities in the Western Cape have the legal framework and NERSA-approved tariffs in place. This includes George, Beaufort West, City of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, and Mossel Bay, among others. Other municipalities, such as Saldanha Bay, have the legal framework in place and now only need to apply for feed-in tariffs from NERSA.