Solar Energy Programme
Solar Energy Technology Roadmap (SETRM)
SANEDI, specifically the Clean Energy Solutions Programme (including RECORD) team, and its GIZ partner have been involved in the core and full project steering committees of this initiave from project outset. This project aims at developing the Solar industry to 2050 - "South Africa has the potential to be a centre of excellence of solar development and utilisation," says Michael Sudarkasa project manager of the Solar Energy Technology Roadmap (SETRM). The purpose of the SETRM is to assist in realising this potential by developing a long term solar sector strategy to 2050 explains Sudarkasa.
- Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
- Solar Thermal (heating and cooling)
- Research and Development into Hybrid Technologies and Solar Fuels
The draft Road Map currently estimates that 40GW of Solar Photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power can be developed by 2050 in South Africa. During the same time period it estimates that an additional 4GW of Solar Water Heating can be installed in South Africa.
Concept for a Centre for Solar Technology, Development and Innovation (CSTDI)
- Stakeholder expectations/needs;
- Viability of establishing the proposed centre;
- Potential technology innovation opportunities;
- Potential human capacity development opportunity;
- Possible business case for the centre;
- Possible capital and operational costs of the centre
- Possible operational Plan for the centre
Originally proposed phases
- Funding will be provided through a call for proposals from consortiums which can focus on specific technical developments
- Support existing initiatives
- Mini plant built
- Linked to the solar park initiative
Pre-feasibility Study Plan
- The financial implications of building the CSTDI as a single facility where all solar research, development, innovation and some training could be done far exceed the resources that could be made available to realise the concept. This financing would have to come directly from government and is not currently in the budget.
- Site selection for the CSTDI would be problematic, since it would have to be taken into account that the best solar resource, in the Northern Cape, is far removed from already established institutes with start up expertise and infrasturcure. This would require much in put into: Purchasing and and constructing buildings; Purchasing or building relevant equipment; Attracting the best expertise to move to the area where the centre would be built; Attracting and enabling research and support staff and students/trainees; Accomodation and ammenities for said persons
- Given the above hinderences, institutes that already have solar expertise and equipment would probably not deem it financially viable to move to the CSTDI. Thus leading to much duplication and lack of coordiation in the solar research development and innovation sector for South Africa could result.
PV Testing Lab NMMU
- Novel characterisation of photovoltaic (PV) materials, cell and modules, understanding their failure and means to mitigate failure or improve solar energy capture
- Energy yield studies in monitoring performance and analysis of selected experimental PV modules
CER established at NMMU has been involved in renewable energy research for many years, it focuses on providing technology support specifically in the following areas:
- Testing and verification of component specifications (e.g. PV module or solar thermal systems)
- Development of testing techniques
- Product development - prototype development and testing
- Skills development
There are two focal areas to the project funded by RECORD and GIZ:
- Photovoltaic (PV) characterization
- Energy Yield and Performance Monitoring
PV materials, device, module and systems characterisation
Developing characterisation techniques is particularly important in understanding a technology and, in this case, contributing to the PV technology knowledge-base in South Africa, since this technology will be rolled out at high levels in the country. The research includes:
- a better understanding of performance limiting degradation and failure modes in PV devices
- causes of premature failure in PV cells, complete modules and systems
- root causes of non-functioning areas in newly manufactured PV cell material
- effects of various types of cell damage, be it before or after long-term outdoor exposure, on the degradation rate and failure of PV cells and modules
- determination of the natural long-term degradation rate of normally functioning PV modules
These research activities have two main goals that will help to drive the PV industry forward:
- adding to the existing knowledge base in PV devices
- training of students to become future PV experts that may enter the PV industry or will continue with the development of new improved technologies
The scope of the research includes the following standard and non-standard characterisation techniques:
- Current-voltage (I-V) characterization (indoor and outdoor).
- Device parameter extraction.
- Spatial imaging techniques: Electroluminescence (EL), Photoluminescence (PL) and infrared (IR) thermography,
- Various Light Beam Induced Current (LBIC) measurement systems: High Resolution (HRLBIC), Large Area (LA-LBIC), Solar (S-LBIC) systems incorporating point-by-point I-V, spectral and Raman spectroscopy.
- Systems characterization: Solar Home Systems for remote and rural applications, off-grid kW-scale systems and grid-integrated systems.
PV technology energy yield studies
The South African renewable energy industry, through the Renewable Energy Power Procurement Programme (REBID) of the Department of Energy, has pledged construction of several large utility-scale PV installations nationally. To support this industry and develop South African expertise, a sound knowledge base is required. In addition to human capital development associated with the characterisation related portion of this project, further expertise in PV technology energy yield on gridintegrated PV systems is needed. The emphasis of this research is the measurement and modelling of energy yield from PV systems comprising different solar cell technologies. These systems are installed at various locations representative of different climatic regimes in South Africa. All PV systems are monitored, and appropriate meteorological and performance data collected. From this data actual energy yield is determined and correlated with modelled energy yield. This adds value to the knowledge base by answering questions relating to the energy yield of different PV technologies, viz.:
- suitability of different PV technologies for different environmental conditions
- operational and environmental limitations of different PV technologies
- total energy yield range from different PV technology types
- total cost of energy production over the lifetime of these different technology types
The main goals of this research focus are to:
• add to the existing knowledge base by verifying energy yield from different PV technologies under different environmental and solar radiation regimes
• determine the suitability of different PV technologies for deployment in different environmental and solar radiation regimes
The parameters listed below are monitored and analysed throughout the duration of this project, and data is collated:
- voltage of PV array
- AC current and voltage injected into the utility grid
- Plane-of-array irradiance
- Back-of-module temperature
- Ambient temperature and other meteorological parameters
Solar Medium to High Temperature Applications
What is the opportunity?
- South Africa has abundant solar resources
- South Africa is dependent on fossil based energy sources
- South Africa has committed to specific emission targets
- South Africa is implementing a carbon tax in 2015
- South Africa is exploring the solar opportunity through the SETRM process
- While renewables are being introduced to make a low-carbon/no-carbon contribution to the electricity grid through the REIPPPP, no similar incentives exist for low-carbon/no-carbon liquid fuels, which contribute equivalently to the emission burden
- The International Energy Agency SolarPACES Implementing Agreement has targeted South Africa and Australia specifically for Solar Fuels introduction into the market, and has set aside a budget to assist
- South Africa spends 75% of its entire energy spend on liquid fuels balance of payments to foreign suppliers
- South Africa can become a world leader on high temperature solar applications
What is the potential solution?
- Use of heat from concentrating solar to drive endothermic reactions in industrial and petrochemical processes, avoiding the combustion of fossil feedstocks to drive these reactions: steam reforming of methane; dry (CO2) reforming of methane; steam gasification of carbonaceous solid feedstocks
- Temporary sequestering of CO2 in dry reforming of methane to produce synthesis gas to make aviation fuel by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
- Water splitting through solar high temperature steam electrolysis and solar thermochemical cycles
What is the global state of the art?
- Solar steam reforming of methane has been demonstrated at: 200kW level in a tubular reactor, 400kW level in a volumetric reactor
- Solar steam gasification of carbonaceous solid feedstocks has been performed at: 500kW level for petroleum coke, 1MW level for biomass, 200kW level for - low rank coal, industrial sludge, sewage sludge, tyre chips
- Solar dry reforming of methane has been performed. Level is unknown, but unlikely to be above 10kW
What makes South Africa's situation different to the global examples?
- Excellent solar resource: Gauteng equivalent to Spain (2,000kWh/m2/year), Northern Cape (2,800kWh/m2/year) rivalled only by Chile
- Significant water stress: water availability is poor in good solar regions
- South Africa has significant CO2 emissions
- Potential carbon tax incentivises low-carbon approaches
- Eskom already considering carbon capture approaches
- Potential development of Shale Gas resources
What local knowledge gives South Africa advantage?
- Fischer-Tropsch competence in industry (Sasol, PetroSA) and universities (Wits, UNW)
- Competence in coal chemistry and gasification (NWU, WITS, CSIR)
- Integration of high temperature heat sources into chemical processes
- High temperature materials
- Simulation and modelling expertise
- Existing CSP knowledge
What is required to achieve this?
- Feasibility studies to determine local potential and priorities, economic viability and potential for leap frogging through collaboration for:
- Solar fuels – re-using CO2 to make aviation fuel
- Solar calcination of CaCO3 to CaO for cement industry
- Solar melting of aluminium
- Solar water splitting to generate hydrogen (Integrate with HySA)
- Solar gasification of coal
- Feasibility study to define requirements for experimental facilities: lab-scale testing requires 10 kW solar furnace or 10 kW solar simulator (arc-xenon lamps), 100 kW testing requires heliostat field and tower facility
- Development of detailed transient modelling capability: chemistry, heat transfer, thermohydraulics, optics/radiative transfer
- SolarPACES Solar Fuels Road Mapping assistance
What is the benefit for government?
- S&T resource development
- Potential export products in high temperature solar application production facilities
- Job creation
- Optimum usage of fossil resources combined with solar
- RSA positioned as a solar RD&I destination
- Achievements of COPXX commitments
Potential for innovation/technology development
- Catalyst development (probably Rhodium - PGM-based) for methane reforming
- Thermal storage integration into solar chemistry process
- Chemical receiver development
- Solar regeneration of amine from CO2 capture & CO2 management
- Solar aluminium rotary kiln
Solar DNI Measurement Project
Accurate decision-making for the deployment of solar energy projects is about to receive a boost with the launch of a unique project, set to fund eight high accuracy Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) solar measurement stations in South Africa. The project, funded jointly by the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and implemented by the University of Stellenbosch, who will carry out solar measurements over a 12-month period at eight new solar measurement stations, then update an existing solar DNI map with the collected data, as well as other data that is available in the public domain, and ensure the publication of the map and measured data in the public domain.