Solar Power in Industrial Quantities
Electronics company Bosco Printed Circuits, who are located in Johannesburg, were used to seeing production come to a halt on their shop floor as often as twice a week – caused by power cuts. Sometimes the outages were scheduled, sometimes they just happened. Every time there was an unexpected power outage the electroplating machines would freeze half way through a job, and all materials would have to be scrapped. It was time to act…
Bosco Printed Circuits was established over 60 years ago and had learned to minimise their losses – but delayed delivery times, and reputational damage was much more of an issue. Company Director Philip Verheul began to wonder if it was possible to meet the significant electricity demands from his factory, and offices using battery-stored energy, and called in the expertise of Specialized Solar Systems.
Because local energy prices increase by a factor of 3 or 4 during peak periods, money could be saved by using stored electricity during peak periods, and taking power from the grid – if needed – overnight.
I say ‘if needed’ – Bosco decided to ‘go green’ and generate their own solar energy. As a result they installed a total of 300kWp Solar Panels …which is quite a lot.
All that solar power needs to be stored in a battery bank with huge capacity …batteries which are capable of being cycled day-in, day-out, for years. For this he chose Redflow’s zinc bromine flow batteries. Each battery has a capacity of 10kWh; Bosco uses 14 of them. Redflow batteries can be worked hard everyday without loss of capacity – even more reassuring for Bosco is the fact that this duty cycle is guaranteed, for ten years.
To meet the 230VAC power demands of office and shop floor, ultra-reliable high-output inverters would be required. They would also need to work seamlessly with zinc bromine battery technology. Six Victron Quattro’s – 48V/10kVA – work in parallel to deliver the power required. Not only do they have invisible switching times when there is a power outage, but their unique PowerAssist function will meet huge peak-power demands when electricity from the grid (or from a generator) cannot cope. They do this by adding power stored in the battery to the current AC source.
Finally, a Victron CCGX acts as the communication gateway – through it, automatic switches can be programmed, and the whole installation can be remotely monitored and tweaked to ensure Bosco’s power plant is always running at its optimum performance.
Philip Verheul has been really pleased with the results of his decision. His system is programmed to take advantage of off-peak electricity, and utilise the power of the sun. Power outages no longer cause downtime – helping to keep to a busy schedule – and Bosco’s reputation for innovation and sustainability is enhanced.