S.Africa: Joint venture presents solar PV water heating technology

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In South Africa, PowerOptimal and Cranbrook are working together to deploy the Elon Solar photovoltaic (PV) water heating technology.

This technology powers geysers without the need for expensive batteries and inverters.

A joint press release noted that the technology delivers increased reliability, at reduced costs and requires little maintenance; attributes which are high priorities in property development and energy management.

The PowerOptimal Elon Solar PV water heater consists of a switching unit that allows for direct connection of solar PV modules to standard South African electric water heaters (geysers). Read more…

“Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in property development in South Africa and around the world,” said Cranbrook CEO, Peter du Plessis.

The company focuses on property development in areas where growth industries create strong demand for infrastructure development.

Solar PV water heating technology

Also commenting on the innovation, Dr Sean Moolman, CEO of PowerOptimal said:“The long lifetime and low maintenance of Solar PV, combined with using water as a battery, creates an affordable, reliable, manageable and sustainable water heating solution suitable for a range of enviroments. Payback periods are in the range of four to six years.”

Moolman continued: “Solar PV modules routinely last over 30 years, with manufacturers providing 25-year performance guarantees. That’s opposed to solar thermal or heat pump systems that have much shorter lifetimes, typically 10 to 15 years, and require annual maintenance.”

The dramatic fall in solar PV module prices over the past few years has changed what is possible with the unlimited energy from the sun.

Richard Fearon, director at the company added: “Heating water with Solar PV used to be a very expensive option, but through our proprietary switching technology, it has become the most cost-effective and reliable way to heat water. No inverter and no battery means affordability and reliability.

“The water itself acts as the battery. This brings down the cost of energy produced by the Elon system to less than 90c/kWh, or about half what typical residential electricity customers pay for electricity.”