Smart energy alternatives

Issue 7 2022 Asset Management, Security Services & Risk Management

David Arrikum.

With the instability and unreliability of our power supply, we are seeing an extremely negative impact on both the business and residentials sectors. As South African readers, I don’t think I really need to explain to you what the impact is.

When choosing the solution to take to market, Power Revolution Technologies realised it was imperative that we understood the requirements of our market and its environmental factors. Traditionally, we have relied on generators and smaller UPS solutions to keep essential loads powered. Generators are great, but increase operating expenses as time goes on. The price of fuel also doesn’t add much comfort.

Mini UPS solutions are great for keeping smaller appliances on, for example a laptop or a router, but are traditionally manufactured with lead-acid batteries, which do not cope well with the cyclical nature of our power supply due to the chemical composition of the battery, and we are seeing a severe decrease in their lifespan. They are a cost-efficient solution if your power goes out once every three months.

It is important for South Africans to understand the severity of our lack of power supply when choosing a solution. Interim solutions are not the answer as the problem looks to be rather permanent. Looking towards solar and higher-quality batteries is the direction we believe South Africans should move. A hybrid inverter with bigger 5-10 kWh batteries might look a bit pricey upfront, but once you throw in solar panels your savings start to pay for your system. As you save more, so your system will grow and move you towards an off-grid power solution. If your budget doesn’t allow for an inverter and a battery, then 12 V lithium batteries in your security systems is a must to make sure they stay on during load shedding.

Lithium batteries are more efficient than lead-acid batteries and, although they are more expensive, provide a lifespan of 8-10 times that of lead-acid. A more efficient battery means quicker charging times, providing a more consistent supply of power in our cyclical environment. The benefits of lithium batteries are numerous and adding solar into the picture makes it even more beneficial to both business and residents.

With or without load shedding, moving towards cleaner renewable energy in any environment is a great idea. Sure, it comes at a cost, but more than seeing a return on our investment, as South Africans, it is very much a lifestyle choice. Do you want your lights on or off?

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