PowerOptimal, a leader in innovative sustainable energy and demand management solutions, has announced that it has partnered with the South African subsidiary of Swedish global appliance giant Electrolux, to bring cost-effective, sustainable solar photovoltaic (PV) water heating solutions to the South African market.
This exclusive partnership will see the PowerOptimal’s Elon solar PV water heating technology sold alongside Electrolux’s leading Kwikot Superline electric water heaters (geysers). With deployment of the PowerOptimal Elon range, a customer can add solar capability to most standard electric geysers, without the need for an inverter or battery. It is the most straightforward and most convenient means to take advantage of solar and traditional power in an existing solution.
“We are very pleased to announce our partnership with PowerOptimal. The company’s sustainable energy solutions align perfectly with our global commitment to sustainability, which is to shape living for the better”, states Mark Moyce, National Sales & Marketing Director at Electrolux South Africa. “By including the Elon into our range of water heating solutions, we are offering developers, builders and all users of geysers a means to take advantage of the abundant solar resource we have in this country at a fraction of the cost.”
According to both parties the partnership makes perfect sense, as the organisations are an excellent cultural fit, the technologies integrate seamlessly, and the technical excellence from both are providing a superior technology solution designed to support and grow mass adoption of sustainable energy.
The innovative PowerOptimal Elon range enables direct connection of solar PV panels to standard electric geysers. It requires no inverter and no batteries, is cost-effective, offers a long lifespan and requires almost no maintenance, making it one of the lowest cost per unit of energy (kWh) solutions for water heating available on the market today.
“We are honoured to partner with Electrolux. The company’s market coverage, quality standards, and market-leading customer service make them the perfect partner for our Elon solution,” states Richard Fearon, CEO at PowerOptimal. “Through this exclusive partnership, all PowerOptimal water heating solutions will be recommended and exclusively sold by Electrolux in South Africa. Together we are looking forward to leveraging the technical capabilities of both companies to bring sustainable energy to a larger market of people, previously inhibited by the sheer cost of solar PV technology.”
PowerOptimal’s Elon range solution can run entirely off the grid, or with grid AC power as backup. In addition, it can be used by property developers for conformance to SANS 10400-XA’s Regulation XA2, which requires that at least 50% of the annual water heating requirement for all new buildings shall be from a source other than grid electricity.
PowerOptimal designs, develops and builds sustainable energy solutions that redefine the future of energy. Headquartered in South Africa and founded in 2014, PowerOptimal’s team draws from their collective engineering and commercial expertise to enable global organisations and consumers to reduce energy cost whilst achieving the sustainability goal of net zero carbon. The company’s innovative and patented energy demand management and solar photovoltaic water heating systems are designed to reduce consumption, demand and cost by leveraging the abundant solar resource.
One thing is certain: the energy industry is undergoing rapid and dramatic change, and mostly to our collective benefit!
There are too many developments to mention, but here are a few of the most interesting from the last few weeks:
The UK (2040) and France (2040) have both joined Germany (2030), Norway (2025), the Netherlands (2025) and India (203) in announcing plans to completely ban petrol & diesel vehicle sales. This is driven partly by renewable energy and climate change goals, but the main concern is actually nitrogen oxide pollution and its negative health effects on urban populations.
These developments will provide further impetus to the growth of electric vehicle sales. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that over half of all new car sales will be electric by 2040. They also predict that electric vehicles will cost less than internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025 – 2029 in most countries.
That should make Tesla’s shareholders happy! What is also making them happy, is Tesla securing an order from South Australia for the world’s largest lithium ion batteryof 100 MW. The battery will be paired with a Neoen wind farm.
Speaking of wind farms, it seems that two-bladed wind turbines are much more cost-effectivethan three-bladed turbines. A slightly lower efficiency (about 2% lower) is more than off-set by an approximately 50% reduction in total cost of energy (capital & operating cost) over the lifetime!
And a floating wind farmhas been proposed off California’s coast, where a steep continental shelf makes traditional underwater foundations for offshore wind farms prohibitively expensive.
The fact that even in the USA coal and nuclear power projects continue to experience huge cost overruns should be a major red flag for South Africa’s nuclear power plant ambitions. Let’s hope that the powers that be start accepting our inevitable solar future!
PLEASE NOTE: This article is from 2015. Current status (2021): If financed via a home loan, solar PV plus storage is less expensive than buying electricity from your municipality in South Africa. According to this research by Sustainable Energy Africa, this was already the case in 2019 for middle-income households.
With the price of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels dropping by more than 10% per year, and Eskom seeking double digit increases for the foreseeable future, when can we expect to see the cost of residential solar PV and battery storage systems to drop below the cost of grid power from Eskom?
We did a simplified calculation to obtain an estimate of when this might happen… And it seems like it will start making financial sense for South Africans to switch within the next 3 years! Thereafter, the financial case for switching will just get stronger every year…
A major barrier to solar PV and battery storage systems is the upfront capital cost. But this could be financed by your bank, and you would be assured of a fixed electricity price for 20 years, compared to continually rising electricity costs if you are tied to the grid. Also, you would be completely free from loadshedding!
How we calculated:
We assumed a typical residential electricity usage of 900 kWh/month, at a current price of R1.40/kWh.
We estimated a current cost of a solar PV + battery storage solution to go off-grid at R200 000, plus an additional R30 000 for a solar geyser and gas oven.
We assumed a 10% increase in Eskom prices and a 10% decrease in solar PV + storage system prices per year. (This is conservative, as discussed above.)
We assumed a 20 year payback period and 10% interest rate on the loan to finance the solar PV + storage system.
Footnote: The graph plots the fixed monthly instalment that you would have to pay if you bought the system in the year as indicated. The instalments over the 20 year period would of course be constant. (So if you bought the system in 2015, fixed monthly instalment would be around R2 200/month over the 20 year period, whilst if you bought it in 2018, fixed monthly instalment would be around R1 600/month over the 20 year period.) Even if you bought the system right now (with the R2 200/month instalment), you will start saving by around 2020, meaning that for at least 15 years subsequently you will be paying less than what you would have if you were still on the grid (and every year the savings would increase due to the increasing price of electricity)…