Emira Property fund's solar energy & advantages of solar power
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (Reit) Emira Property Fund has been increasing its use of renewable energy since the 2015 installation of a 271 kW solar plant on the roof of its Epsom Downs Shopping Centre, in Bryanston.
Since then the company has been continuing the rollout of solutions that mitigate environmental and economic risks, both for itself and its tenants’ businesses.
Emira has increased its solar power production nearly eightfold during its past two financial years alone. In July 2018, it was producing 736 671 kWh at three solar farms and by June this year, it was producing 5.7-million kilowatt-hours from six installations.
The 5.7-million kilowatt-hours produced by Emira’s farms in its 2020 financial year is equal to the carbon absorption capacity of 5 283 acres of forest. Emira says this is the equivalent of removing 874 passenger vehicles from the road for one year or an average passenger vehicle driving 16.15-million fewer kilometers.
Also, Emira is planning to install three more solar farms before mid-2021.
“We foresee major solar farm rollouts increasing for years to come. It is agile and responsible compared with coal-powered stations that take decades and fortunes before they become operational,” they say.
According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa experienced about 1 500 GWh worth of total power outages as of September 2. By comparison, it experienced closer to 1 300 GWh of outages between 2015 and 2019.
Here are some advantages:
- Solar power is pollution-free and causes no greenhouse gases to be emitted after installation
- Reduced dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels
- Renewable clean power that is available every day of the year, even cloudy days produce some power
- Return on investment unlike paying for utility bills
- Virtually no maintenance as solar panels last over 30 years
- Creates jobs by employing solar panel manufacturers, solar installers, etc. and in turn helps the economy
- Excess power can be sold back to the power company if grid intertied
- Ability to live grid free if all power generated provides enough for the home/building
- Can be installed virtually anywhere; in a field to on a building
- Use batteries to store extra power for use at night
- Solar can be used to heat water, power homes and building, even power cars
- Safer than traditional electric current
- Efficiency is always improving so the same size solar that is available today will become more efficient tomorrow
- Aesthetics are improving making the solar more versatile compared to older models; i.e. printing, flexible, solar shingles, etc.
- Federal grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs are available to help with initial costs
- No trenching is needed since the solar can be close to or at the place of installation
There is more solar power that hits the earth every day than the current population can use in a year. Let’s keep working to harness this great power and put it to good use. With efficiencies evolving, pricing being reduced every day, and new technologies being experimented with, it will be interesting to see where we are in the solar industry in the next couple of years. What do you think the future will look like?
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