Automotive manufacturer BMW South Africa (BMW SA) has invested in a 6 500 l/day solar water heating installation, as it continues to progress with energy efficiency and cleaner production initiatives.
The system provides hot water for the main canteen at the company’s plant in Rosslyn.
The installation, which was designed by Voltas Technologies and installed by Luft Technik, consists of 37 evacuated tube collectors, which generate 83% of the total energy requirement for water heating in the canteen.
Previously, the water was heated using natural gas and it is expected that using the solar system will displace the use of 13 921 m3/y of natural gas. Further, the avoided carbon dioxide emissions will be 27 437 kg/y.
The system has been specifically designed with provisions for expansion in future, and could also be connected to an absorption chiller, which would enable the system to produce hot water for cooling requirements.
“Investing in energy efficiency has long-term financial benefits. It is tied in to our strategy of EfficientDynamics in cars and CleanProduction,” emphasised BMW SA energy manager TM Lesetla.
He said that the capital investment in the solar system would be recouped in a little over four years.
“People are opening up to the idea of renewable energy – especially solar water heating,” said Lesetla, adding that the company felt that it was important to drive energy efficiency and impart the knowledge among staff members, who could continue driving the agenda at home.
BMW SA’s energy division has set up informative boards explaining how the solar installation works, for the benefit of staff, as well as visitors to the plant.
The Rosslyn plant has undertaken a number of energy efficiency initiatives to reduce the megawatt hours per unit of vehicle production, as the company strives to achieve energy targets outlined in the BMW group strategy.
Voltas Technologies design engineer Hartmut Martin explains that the closed-loop solar system has been designed to accommodate future expansion of the system, with possible integration with a solar cooling component to satisfy air-conditioning requirements.
As the canteen is only operational during the day, the water that is used during the day is replaced immediately.
The aim is to produce 101 MWh/y through the installation, and to date, the amount generated is on target with design, notes Voltas Technologies design engineer Pauline Evrard-Guespin.
There is a control panel connected to the system, which allows for monitoring of the system performance and analysis of data. There is also an irradiation sensor on the roof alongside the collectors, to compare the output of the panels with the amount of sun experienced.
The installation took about one month to complete.
Source: Engineering News
Big business, like BMW has realised the benefits of going green and saving energy by using solar water heaters. With the domestic-use Eskom rebates in place, the time is now to invest in a solar water heater! While Eskom rebates are presently accessible and available, this may not be the case in a few years time. Substantial savings can be made with Eskom rebates when high quality, efficient solar geysers are installed. The rebate quantity (cash back) depends on how much electricity a specific solar geyser will save which also depends on the solar geyser’s placement on the building (north-facing is best for the southern hemisphere). It has been ascertained that a solar water heating system can reduce a household’s electricity consumption by as much as 50%. On average, a solar geyser in South Africa, at current Eskom tariffs, will amortize the initial cost within 36 months; thereafter it’s literally money in your pocket with the savings you make on electricity bills. Solar energy is a renewable resource and its use not only results in financial savings but there are considerable environmental benefits too. Read Solar Power Myths if you still need convincing!
Water and energy are linked; Water Rhapsody and Yes Solar Mpumalanga are synergistic and offer holistic water and energy solutions to South Africans in the midst of the water crisis and energy crisis. Water scarcity in South Africa cannot be ignored- those that do will find themselves without safe household water and we have already experienced the discomfort and interruptions of electricity supply cuts. Water Rhapsody’s water conservation systems include rainwater harvesting systems, rainwater tanks, grey water recycling systems, swimming pool backwash recycling systems, water-saving toilet flushing mechanisms and high quality JoJo and Atlas Plastics water tanks and water tank stands (we are authorised JoJo Tank dealers and Atlas Plastics water tank suppliers in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld). Our solar energy solutions encompass the full range of Solsquare (Germany) solar water heaters and solar panels (Yes Solar Mpumalanga is an official Solsquare Solar Solutions distributor and supplier for the province). Solsquare solar water geysers are SABS- and Eskom-approved and are always installed by qualified, SA Solar Installers-accredited solar installers who will also assist with the Eskom rebate paperwork.