Concentrating solar thermal cooling system Africa ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
South Africa’s first concentrating solar thermal cooling system is relying on technology from SCHOTT. The international technology group based in Mainz, Germany, has supplied solar receivers for use in the solar thermal system that was put into operation in July 2014 at the MTN (Mobile Telephone Networks) headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Fresnel-collector with thermal peak power of 272 kW is now connected to the district cooling system at MTN’s main office. Here, the concentrating solar thermal collector powers a double-effect absorption chiller with a cooling capacity of 330 kW. The headquarters of MTN is thus air-conditioned in an environmentally friendly manner, releases lower emissions and consumes less fossil fuel.
The solar system was realized by the German company Industrial Solar GmbH (Freiburg/Breisgau) as part of the German Energy Agency dena’s “dena Solar Roofs Programme”. This programme supports the solar industry in entering foreign markets through the Renewable Energies Export Initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The construction of the plant in cooperation with REACH Renewable was commissioned in June 2014.
The solar market in South Africa
The market for solar cooling or solar process heat is just about to start in South Africa. Due to the excellent sun exposure, the country has great potential for industrial applications of concentrating solar energy. The radiation levels are significantly higher compared with Europe. Although no government subsidies for the purchase of solar technologies are available, the economics are improving due to rising conventional energy prices and decreasing solar system costs. Investments in renewable energies are thus becoming more and more attractive.