June 12, 2024

SolarSaver Installs Solar Panels on 150 Engen Fuel Stations

SolarSaver has installed solar PV systems with a total capacity of nearly 6.59 MW at 150 Engen fuel stations in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, expected to generate 12.2 million kilowatt-hours in the first year.

Utilizing Solar Power During the Day and Grid at Night

SolarSaver, the designated solar provider for Engen, has installed solar PV systems at 150 Engen Petroleum fuel stations across Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. These installations have a total capacity of nearly 6.59 MW and are expected to generate 12.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in their first year. This initiative reduces Engen's dependence on grid power and cuts CO₂ emissions.

Stu Batchelor from SolarSaver highlighted the benefits of solar energy for businesses like fuel service stations, emphasizing its potential to reduce electricity expenses and carbon emissions. He explained that fuel stations can utilize solar power during the day and switch to the grid at night or during adverse weather conditions, thereby easing pressure on the grid and conserving energy.

“The fuel stations are able to use solar energy during the day and revert to the national grid at night and during inclement weather conditions,” Batchelor said. “This allows us the ability to save energy and to take pressure off the grid.”

Assisting Over 700 Major Businesses to Switch to Solar

Batchelor noted that the installation of solar PV systems typically results in a significant decrease in grid energy consumption, estimating around 80,000 kWh per year per typical Engen site. He also mentioned the unique suitability of service stations for solar PV solutions, utilizing spaces such as convenience store roofs and forecourt canopies to power various operations, including retail stores.

“With a solar installation, daylight energy requirements such as LED lights, gasoline pumps, and compressors can be completely met.”

Batchelor emphasized that with solar installations, energy needs for lighting, fuel pumps, compressors, refrigeration, and IT infrastructure can be met sustainably, leading to substantial savings on electricity costs. SolarSaver currently assists over 700 major businesses in adopting solar solutions, offering options like rent-to-own grid-tied systems and hybrid battery installations for backup during grid outages.

“This sustainable energy source can also offer energy for refrigeration and IT systems, resulting in significant electricity cost reductions,” Batchelor remarked.

Solar PV Reducing Electricity Bills

Fuel service stations in Namibia and South Africa have been significantly reducing electricity costs by adopting solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. The escalating electricity costs, up by 350% in the last decade, coupled with generation issues at Eskom, have propelled leading fuel retailers towards solar solutions. This shift not only aims to cut costs but also aligns with their efforts to adopt greener energy practices.

A notable example is Puma Energy’s Bach Street Service Station in Windhoek, where a solar PV system has generated 207,273kWh since its inception in October 2016. This solar output accounts for 25 to 30% of the station's monthly electricity consumption, leading to substantial cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint. The integration of solar PV has proven effective in mitigating the financial burden of electricity while contributing to environmental sustainability.

Tim Frankish, managing director of SolarSaver, highlights that service stations are optimal for solar PV installations due to their canopy space and high electricity consumption, especially with the addition of 24-hour retail stores. SolarSaver has successfully installed numerous systems, significantly reducing electricity costs for these stations. The company's projects in Namibia include installations at Engen, Puma Energy, Shell, and Total stations across various locations.

SolarSaver sees a vast potential for solar energy adoption in the fuel retail sector, with major fuel retail groups actively promoting solar solutions among franchisees. The company provides customized, rent-to-own solar solutions, allowing franchisees to benefit from solar power without upfront capital investment. SolarSaver installs the systems at no initial cost, charging a variable monthly rental fee instead. This model ensures immediate cost savings and future-proofing against rising grid electricity prices.

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