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The Executive Mayor of George, Alderman Leon van Wyk accompanied by the Portfolio Councillor for Electrotechnical Services & Fleet Management, Nosicelo Mbete, last week visited the Outeniqua Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) situated in Pacaltsdorp to see the start of the erection of the PV installation of a 400-kilowatt peak (kWp).

“We are happy to witness the commencement of the construction works for the installation of our 400 kiloWatt peak (kWp) solar PV plant that will, once erected in the next couple of months, be able to power most of the Wastewater Treatment Works electrical loads during the daytime. It is essential that we make use of renewable energy along with a battery pack which will be added in due course so that we can have the Power to operate our sewerage always works,” said Mayor van Wyk during his visit last week Thursday, 13 April 2023.

The system, according to the director for the George Municipal Electrotechnical Services, Bongani Mandla will comprise 736 panels, with each panel rated at 545 Watts. “Then we have the inverters that convert the DC power from the panels into AC electricity that’s required by the loads. We have a total of eight (8) inverters, with each inverter rated at 50 kilo Watts (kW).”

“The system will be grid-tied with no storage. However, it will allow for integration of battery storage to be installed in the next financial year,” Mandla added. “The power generated will be fed into the facility’s main low-voltage distribution board where the loads (pumps and motors) required to operate the wastewater facility are connected.”

The expected annual energy yield is 678 680 kWhs, and at a rate of R1,6 per kWh, the cost of the annual energy generated is R1 085 888. The calculated payback period of the system is 7 years. The lifespan of PV systems is 25 years. The system’s total cost, including a 24-month operation and maintenance period and training of 4 municipal staff, is R7,8 million (inclusive of VAT).

In addition, the PV system will have a weather monitoring station equipped with a bunch of sensors to measure parameters such as the irradiance, wind speed and wind direction, humidity, ambient temperature, PV panels temperature, etc. This data, including the PV production data, will be sent to a cloud, and then pulled off from there and displayed on the SCADA system, for remote monitoring (in near real-time).

In terms of environmental sustainability, the carbon emissions that will be avoided using energy generated from a clean and renewable source is 12 809 tonnes over 25 years. The installation will occupy an area of approximately 4 800 square metres.



From left: Rasmus Esterhuysen: Manager: Projects, Portfolio Councillor Nosicelo Mbethe (Electrotechnical Services & Fleet Management), Alderman Leon van Wyk (Executive Mayor of George), Menno Sulsters (Project Manager for SEM Solutions, appointed contractor), Thabo Yiga (Manager: Projects) and Danie Greeff (Electro-Technical Services: Deputy Director – Planning & Design).