AWPower successfully hosted an energy seminar on 21 May 2019 at the Nedbank Auditorium at V&A Waterfront, attended by about 80 delegates. Following the seminar, we received a mail from Dr Anthony Keen, a well-known off-grid energy pioneer, who attended the seminar. His summary of the event, which covers highlights from each of the speakers, is not only a very accurate recap of the major talking points from the day, but also provides some further insight into the matters discussed. We thank Dr Keen for taking the time to compile such a thorough summary of the seminar and hereby wish to share his thoughts with you below.
We have added links to each of the presentations within this document for your convenience in case you wish to study them in further detail.
Please read more about Dr Keen by visiting the link below, followed by the mail we received from him:
Very many thanks for a very successful seminar this morning. I thought I knew quite a bit about rooftop PV, but I learned a lot this morning.
Perhaps the highlight for me was the more technical talk by Dr Bernard Bekker. He balanced his presentation very carefully around all three components: the end consumer, the distributor (municipality in RSA) and the grid controller, emphasising what each wanted out of rooftop PV. As an end consumer, I tend to have big ideas of what the consumer wants, but this has to fit in with the other two in order to have the whole operating safely, with high quality and in balance.
Please click the image above to view Dr Bekker’s presentation
Dr Bernard Bekker
Associate Director – Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, University of Stellenbosch
Arnaud Dabancourt’s thesis proved interesting and drew attention to the large business potential beyond our borders.
Please click the image above to view Arnaud Dabancourt’s presentation
Managing Director – Tristan Procurement Solutions
Henri Hattingh’s example of two case studies was down to earth and practical. He was considering how to fit the customer’s requirements best with the local regulations and I think his off-grid solution with switchover to grid when sun/batteries were low was a clever solution to allow freedom of design for the customer without bothering too much with the finer regulatory restrictions of grid-tied systems. Especially so if switchover can be automated and not relying upon the owner to switch across. I first learned of this technique from Dr Gavin Greig of Constantia, one of AWPower’s clients.
I liked Henri’s clever computer program to calculate payback; the two options described by Henri were maximally assisting the client but not the municipality, which is now reaching for fixed charges to compensate: I think the first (grid-tied inverter) is clearly the best value for money for commercial applications, providing a good business case. I am not so sure of the business case for private residences, with all the restrictions and the unfavourable load patterns of a residence. Much sun coming when there is not much load really requires export with compensation to build a business case. Blocking export and curtailing panels does not help the business case here. However, as Henri said, “learning to live with the sun” i.e. load shifting to sunshine time, does help.
Please click the image aboveto view Henri Hattingh’s presentation
Chief Executive Officer – AWPower
Christiaan Hattingh tackled the City of Cape Town (CoCT) regulations well, outlining the basically three options offered. Interesting to hear that Johannesburg City Power up north was way behind and following CoCT’s lead, as are many other municipalities.
Please click the image above to view Christiaan Hattingh’s presentation
Chief Operating Engineer – AWPower
It was good to hear that Mark Boshoff of Nedbank was considering how to construct packages for outright ownership and third party owners of rooftop PV, perhaps partially in reply to Bernard’s plea for freer financing. Innovative packages that do not require full upfront payment should make installation more attractive to a larger clientele.
Please click the image above to view Mark Boshoff’s presentation
Mark Boshoff CA(SA)
Head: Strategic Initiatives | Business Banking | Nedbank Ltd
Finally, thank you again for an interesting morning.