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Monday, 13 March 2017

Research center goes off the grid

POWER: Researchers and students from the Center for Distributed Power and Electronics Systems pictured with the solar panels in the background POWER: Researchers and students from the Center for Distributed Power and Electronics Systems pictured with the solar panels in the background

CPUT is going off the grid.

In a bid to become energy efficient, the Center for Distributed Power and Electronics Systems (CDPES) has installed an off-grid solar PV system with battery backup.

The system is a first for CPUT and has the capacity to run five of the center’s laboratories, which are located in the Bellville-based facility housing the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering.

Dr Marco Adonis, deputy head of operations at the CDPES says the new installation will help cut the department’s electricity bill, with potential cost savings expected to be R25000 per annum. It will also contribute towards teaching and learning activities, and complement several of the center’s core research areas, which include energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy technologies, microgrids and smart grids.

Installed by Solar MD, the system consists of 18 solar PV panels that have been installed on the roof of the new building, as well as a lithium-ion battery bank. The battery bank stores electricity for use on days when there are low solar insolation levels as well as during periods of utility load shedding. The electricity stored will also be put to use during the evening, when lectures on the new Masters in Energy Programme are held and the CDPES postgraduate laboratories are in use.

The installation features a state-of-the-art battery monitoring system and a smart system controller that assists with load management and protection. The system also includes a versatile web-based monitoring system.

“This feature allows the remote monitoring of the system parameters, analysis of the system performance and enables generation of real-time or historical comprehensive reports on site’s energy production, energy savings and technical status,” says Adonis.

Kaloyan Dimnov, Director of Solar MD, says the solar PV panels are easy to maintain and has a lifespan of more than 25 years.

Click here for more information on the CDPES.

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.