Air Products South Africa has made a commitment through its Environmental, Health and Safety Policy to continually reduce the environmental impact of its operations in support of its sustainability goals.
To this end, Air Products formed a relationship with a wholly black-owned and controlled energy company, Jeka Energy. Jeka Energy is a subsidiary of Jeka Resources.
Air Products and Jeka Energy have completed their first solar PV (Photovoltaic) roof-mounted power plant. This power plant generates daytime solar energy for the Air Products Kempton Park Facility.
This renewable energy displaces most of the energy that Air Products uses that is sourced from the grid, primarily from coal-fired power stations.
The installed system uses the generated solar energy as it gets harnessed, hence the daytime solar energy generation. However, an allowance has been made for future expansion to an ultimate hybrid
solar system that will incorporate energy storage systems. The installed system is designed to generate up to 329,394kWh in its first year of operation.
Air Products’ selection of Jeka Energy as the preferred supplier was based on their track record and experience in the development, construction, project execution and operation of similar solar PV systems, which were tailor-made to customer requirements. Jeka Energy also offers advisory services pertaining to the design and development of energy-efficient solar PV technology solutions.
The technical and operations teams at Air Products started investigating the option of solar energy as they realised that a structure such as a roof can be a valuable asset. This led to the installation of a roof-mounted solar PV power plant.
Maropeng Bahula, General Manager: Technical, at Air Products comments on the relationship with Jeka Energy: “At Air Products, we have a number of key focus areas that we believe have made a contribution to our success in the industry to date. Some of these focus areas include enterprise development, continuous improvement, innovation and technology. The solar energy project we have embarked on with Jeka Energy ticked all these boxes. We are using the Kempton Park Facility’s solar system as a prototype and it will form the basis for projects at our other facilities going forward. We believe that as we roll out solar PV power plants over a period of time to our other facilities, we will improve our energy efficiency. Moreover, our energy mix will change resulting in an improved carbon footprint and reduced electricity costs.”
Jeka Energy CEO, Thembani Jeffrey Marhanele explains that solar energy has become a valuable tool for companies such as Air Products, as the solar energy generated can be stored and used during peak demand periods if a hybrid solar system is installed. “At Jeka Energy, our aim is to assist businesses to develop and achieve their green energy goals whilst managing their demand side through energy efficient systems. Through the system, we also work with our clients to ensure that they are aware of the financial benefits of renewable energy systems.”
More than an ordinary service provider
Bahula further mentions that the relationship with Jeka Energy forms part of the company’s Enterprise Development Programme. “When we initiated this project at our Kempton Park Facility, we were looking to form a relationship with a company that was prepared to embark on a ‘renewable energy journey’ with us and that would guide our team through the various stages of the process. Enterprise Development beneficiary, through the process of structuring a long-term PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).”