04 Sep 2012
The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s effort to use energy efficiency technology to save power is paying off, with savings of 1.25 megawatts.
The municipality has been employing new technology and replacing inefficient systems to improve power efficiency, thereby saving about 1.25 megawatts (MW) through the replacement of street lights in various areas.
Retrofitting, which refers to the addition of new technology, has so far seen about 16 168 inefficient systems changed.
Metro’s spokesperson, Sam Modiba, states that the metro had to start implementing energy efficiency practices with its own building and lead by example.
“We have installed 14 000 occupancy sensors in our customer care centres, community halls, clinics, fire stations, libraries and metro police offices across the region.”
Modiba explains that prior to the occupancy sensor installation, the lights were burning 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
This was due to the fact that most buildings have centralised switches, which controlled all of the lights and therefore nobody took responsibility for switching them off after working hours, he says.
Post installation on weekdays, it is estimated that they burn 10 hours a day, saving 14 hours between Monday and Friday and saving 24 hours on weekends and public holidays, Modiba points out.
The municipality has also rolled out 11 400 low pressure solar water heaters in various wards across the municipality for the 2011/2012 financial year and has rolled out over 30 000 since the inception of the rebate program in 2010.
Modiba says the municipality will launch a unique solar plant project at the OR Tambo Precinct on 18 September.
A plant of this kind is the first in the country to be owned and operated by a municipality.
It is set to produce 200 kW of electricity through 860 PV (photovoltaic) solar panels on 2 500 square metres of land.
This energy is enough to power about 133 low cost houses, he adds.
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