Windhoek — Theo's Superspar in Otjiwarongo has turned to green energy to power the shop. The supermarket boasts 1560 solar panels installed by HopSol Africa in cooperation with DIS Engineering.
The panels produce about 516 Megawatt hour (Mwh) per year that is equivalent to 43 000 kilowatt-hour (kWh) every month. "The solar power plant covers more or less the daytime electricity demand of the shop," said Bjoern Wilschke, chief executive officer of HopSol Africa.
HopSol specialises in solar power installations in desert regions around the world. Due to the specific climatic conditions in desert regions the selection of the right technology is decisive in order to ensure outstanding economic performance of investments in solar power plants.
Theo Borstlap, the proprietor of Theo's Superspar, says the business would recoup the " investment in the solar installations in about five years through energy cost savings". He did not mention the actual investment figures.
Another benefit is that the business would have free electricity for about 20 years and the solar modules come with a 25-year warranty with minimal maintenance costs. The system has a lifespan of about 30 years.
"Keeping the rising electricity prices in mind this investment is economically highly interesting," said Borstlap who flicked on the main switch for the 250 Kilowatt-peak KWp solar grid on February 15.
HopSol solar modules have a very low temperature coefficient and can withstand the daily heat and radiation of Africa significantly better than any other solar modules. Compared to mono and polycrystalline solar modules the HopSol solution provides up to 15 percent more KWh electricity out of the same installed capacity.
Another advantage of these thin film modules is the fact that they do not necessarily need to be installed at an optimal angle to the sun. Theo's Superspar at Otjiwarongo has various roofs with different angles available and not the optimal north facing roof, which is not a problem for thin film modules.