PacB Group // Meeting Industrial Energy Requirements with Eco-Friendly Solar Power


Meeting Industrial Energy Requirements with Eco-Friendly Solar Power

One of the biggest challenges facing the human race today is how to satisfy its need to expand, and to continue meeting the needs of a growing population whilst remaining dependent on power sources that are destroying vital eco-systems and threatening our continued existence. Fortunately, there are now some more sustainable and cleaner alternatives to those power plants that consume fossil fuels, and which, collectively, pump millions of tonnes of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere each day. Among these alternatives, photovoltaic panels offer the benefit of almost unlimited scalability, providing domestic, commercial, and industrial users with all the solar energy they require.

Not only have they become a common enough sight on the rooftops of homes in many of South Africa’s suburbs, arrays of these panels are also to be found on the roofs of office blocks, or nestled amid the lawns and the flower beds that are a frequent feature of the modern office park. Here, their purpose may be simply to charge batteries as a means to provide power for security lighting at night, or to provide a source of emergency backup power in the event of a rolling blackout or power failure. For larger-scale industrial purposes, solar power simply requires a bigger array.

That said, the task of maintaining the city’s streets has become an industry in its own right, and it is one in which photovoltaic cells have begun to play a vitally important role. In many areas, rather than consuming expensive municipal power for residential street lighting and traffic robots, many of which are also fitted with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes, are now utilising UV radiation from the sun, which is captured and converted to electricity with the aid of miniature panels.

Agriculture is yet another sector in which it is possible to employ energy from the sun on an industrial scale. A solar array of sufficient size can be used to generate power for a pumping system that is capable of drawing water from a borehole to irrigate anything from a typical smallholding, to a whole farm with many hectares of arable land obviating the need for expensive mains power or a diesel generator.

For large-scale irrigation, an AC unit will be required. However, a DC system that is suitable for domestic use should still be able to produce a flow of up to almost 40 000 litres a day with a maximum head of 60 metres, and could provide a significant reduction in the monthly municipal bills over a year.

One relatively new and invaluable industrial application of solar power lies in the field of communications, where it is beginning to replace the use of diesel generators to power GSM cell phone towers in areas where mains power is unavailable. South Africa lags behind countries, such as India, where government legislation mandated that 50 percent of its rural base stations must utilise renewable energy by 2015. However, it appears that local efforts to highlight the value of such a move, backed up by the Greenpeace organisation, are now underway and have been gathering momentum throughout the African continent.

The opportunities within the nation’s industrial sector to employ solar power are far more numerous than those described. Moreover, the more of industry’s captains who recognise these opportunities and their many potential benefits, and who are also prepared to make an investment in change, the more assured will the future of their companies and that of our planet be.

While the principle of the photovoltaic effect is well-understood, its applications offer unlimited scope for the innovator. One American company may have come up with the ultimate solution to all our power problems. Appropriately named, Solar Roadways, its hexagonal panels are tougher than metalled road surfaces, and each contain an array of photovoltaic cells that capture radiant energy and feed it directly to the grid. These innovative industrial solar panels could actually replace power stations altogether.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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