Mandilakhe Qavane has been with SOLA Future Energy for about 6 months, although he’s been working in the renewables industry for about 3 years. The first fully-fledged system he’s designed with SOLA is Dynachem – a chemical powder manufacturing and packaging plant in an industrial part of Cape Town.
The system, which was completed this week, belongs to SOLA Future Energy, with a power purchase agreement (PPA) in place, which will enable the manufacturing plant to buy clean energy back at a fixed-rate tariff. The arrangement will provide the plant with clean energy over the next 20 years, shielding the industrial plant of the variability of Eskom tariff increases.
Mandi is 26 years old, having worked as a technical engineer after studying a B Tech in Mechatronic Engineering at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He says that the Dynachem project taught him a lot about overseeing an entire project from the design, through to the construction and commissioning of a solar system. Although the project is small – 60 kW – it still carried its own challenges. The structural, engineering and mechanical aspects of the system needed to be carefully designed in order to make an efficient, optimised solar PV system for the industrial plant.
Although Mandi has worked on high-level designs for several larger systems, Dynachem is the first he’s designed from start-to-finish. The process, he explains, has taught him a lot about all phases of designing and constructing a solar system. “The best thing about [working with SOLA] is the experience… I have been with SOLA for 6 months now but there is a lot that I have learned,” he grins.
The Dynachem industrial solar system uses 180 Canadian Solar 330 watt poly crystalline modules and 1 50kW Inverter to deliver 59.4 kW of direct current (DC) electricity – around 36% of the plant’s energy needs. Reducing the plant’s entire load on the grid will mean that it will experience demand savings as well as reductions in its costs for energy per month. With the system lasting 20 years, the chemical manufacturer is likely to benefit substantially from the reduced energy costs.
Mandi is one of 5 design engineers working for SOLA Future Energy, and plans to get his Pr. Eng one day. He is excited to work on SOLA’s forthcoming projects – not only industrial plants like Dynachem – but in Africa too.