Siemens has launched a distributed energy system (DES) at its South African headquarters in Midrand as a solution to tackle Africa’s energy transition.
The system is built around a 1 megawatt photovoltaic solar plant which is positioned throughout the Siemens Park campus, taking full advantage of the African sun.
Solar energy is captured and fed through a SICAM A8000 Microgrid Controller, which Siemens said is the intelligence behind the system. It stabilises the Siemens campus grid in case of an outage and allows for cost-optimised energy consumption.
Excess energy is stored in a 1 kilowatt-hour SIESTORAGE installation, and the entire system is monitored, visualised, and controlled via MONET, an Internet of Things energy platform.
For the next phase of the project, the system will be connected to the Siemens Desigo CC Building Management System and Smart Metering network installed in the buildings at the headquarters.
This is the first Siemens DES solution of its kind in Africa and is in line with the company’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 through energy efficiency, decentralised energy systems, and the purchasing of clean electricity.
In addition to providing a clean source of energy to its headquarters in Midrand, the project also showcases to current and prospective Siemens clients a proven solution that will help them save energy, cut costs, lower carbon emissions, and ensure uninterrupted power.
“Microgrids and distributed energy systems are the ideal solution for Africa because they are designed for a specific purpose, be it communities or industry,” the CEO for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo, said.
“It also means you can have diverse power supplies, such as solar or wind during the day, then switch to other forms of generation like biomass when the conditions for renewable are poor.”
The challenges currently facing Africa’s energy sector are urging private businesses, communities, and educational institutions to curtail their dependence on the traditional, centralised model of linear power generation and delivery. It is also pushing these entities to identify efficient power generation solutions.
In addition to being designed to provide uninterrupted power, the DES can also help cut an organisation’s energy costs.
“This system will drive down our organisation’s energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” Dall’Omo said.
“We have already reduced the energy demand from the national grid by approximately 40% compared to previous years and more savings are expected with further optimisation.”