Black River Park, one of the largest commercial office park developments in the cape consisting of 74,000 square meters of office space and which is home to a number of leading brands, has shown further leadership in sustainable energy for commercial office buildings by approving the phase 2 of the Black River Park Solar PV System. The 500kW second phase, which will cover most of the remaining roofs at the park, is being built as a result of higher than expected performance from the initial 700kW system installed in August 2013. SOLA Future Energy, who also built the first phase, has been appointed as the design, construction and operations contractor for the second phase.
“We are delighted that the owners of Black River Park wish to expand the system. The results we have seen from operating Phase 1 show that our theoretical simulations for the site were accurate and confirm our belief in the immense value of solar PV systems for commercial buildings,” says Chris Haw, Managing Director of SOLA Future Energy.
Haw further adds, “savings are higher in buildings where air-conditioning loads dominate the energy usage profile because these correlate well with the generation profile of solar PV systems and therefore reduce monthly peak demand charges. Hotter days, requiring more air-conditioning, usually occur when the sun is out and the solar system is generating at capacity.”
The system is unique in that SOLA has applied to the City of Cape Town for a bi-directional metering tariff allowing the owners to inject back a certain portion of excess energy into the City’s networks and receive monetary benefit. The City’s bi-directional tariff programme, as currently proposed, will allow customers to feed back into the grid, but will not allow customers to become net-exporters of energy over a 1 year period.
“The tariff will be implemented once the back end billing system of the City has been modified to accommodate the new metering requirement,” says Brian Jones, head of Green Energy at the City of Cape Town.
Many other commercial office buildings in South Africa are investigating similar interventions hoping to reduce the reliance on energy provided through municipal or Eskom channels that are prone to higher than inflation increases.
The expansion will bring the total installed solar capacity at Black River Park to 1.2MW, the largest integrated solar roof project in South Africa and amongst the 30 largest roof integrated solar PV systems in the world, just behind Google Headquarters, USA (1.6MW), the Rome Trade Fair, Italy (1.4MW) and Toyota Parts Centre, Belgium (1.8MW).