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Thread: Forum for Renewable Energies?

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    Forum for Renewable Energies?

    I would like to discuss and learn how the planners of photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems in South Africa proceed on software products in the field of renewable energies.

    Is there an online forum for Renewable Energies in South Africa or a plattform for business partners?

    Does any of you use photovoltaic software?

    Thanks for the reply!

    Many Greetings

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    PV syatems in SA are few and far between. As far as I know it's actually illegal to export into the Eskom grid although it may be possible in certain circumstances. There's no feed-in tariff in this country so off-grid PV is the only option. Obviously the high cost makes it a last resort hence mainstream PV installations are almost non-existant, ego, planners of PV systems are also few and far between.

    I've only laid hands on one decent sized PV system in SA which was at the offices of a large multinational petrolium company. They didn't even have the decency to use SA manufactured panels even though companies like Tenessa (Tenasol) are on our doorstep.

    I've never come across a South African renewables forum, I'm pretty sure there isn't one. If I ever had need for design software I'd probably make do with Google Sketchup unless it was the kind of contract that warranted the high cost purchasing a professional package such as SOLinvet, PVSol or PVsyst.

    Whats you're thoughts on Archelios? I've never used it but I like the idea it integrates with Sketchup?
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    Thank you very much for this reply. Although not as positive as I expected, these are exactly the answers I was looking for.
    I knew that there is no feed-in tariff in Australia, but I thought that, due to the falling prices, PV systems are slowly being built in the private sector. Such programs as PV*SOL are used in this area.
    In Germany, where grid parity is reached, all hope that PV systems are built yet again, because it's worth it to consume the current itself or store in batteries.
    Example: Electrical power in Germany costs about 25 cents / kWh.
    PV electricity in the residenial sector can be provided for circa 15 ct / kWh. I hoped in Australia that is also the case now. How it looks like?
    In Germany almost only Chinese modules are installed too. Many manufacturer must shut down.

    I am very attached to PV*SOL, so I'm a little biased. Almost everything that can Archelios, PV*SOL Expert can too. Nevertheless, I think it's very pretty, what the colleagues have made there. In terms of simulation, inverter congfiguration and economic effiency calculation PV*SOL is still better. We will soon be working on a CAD Import too.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think one of the problems with SA is the retail prices of PV components are so high plus we tend to get used as a dumping ground for older generation equipment in general so the latest specification models are rarely available at a sensible price.

    One of the big limiting factors of off-grid PV is the batteries required to store the power. Batteries here cost approx double what they cost in Europe. Same for panels and inverters, prices here are extortionate and quality is poor. The electricity unit cost here isn't very high either although recent price increases are beginning to bring our unit price more in line with global rates, at home I'm on a sliding scale according to consumption but it costs around ZAR1.10 per kWh including VAT (US$0.11) (GBP 0.08) and that excludes the 50 free kWh's I get every month. To put this in perspective, in the UK even with their FIT rates being slashed you get paid nearly double what a unit costs me for every unit you export into the grid.
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