News from - ERA South Africa property group

A new power “package” developed at the Tzaneen office of the ERA South Africa property group could prove to be an answer to the electricity woes of hard-pressed developers.

Depending on the success of a pilot project currently running, it may enable them to get approval for new developments from local authorities that are now very reluctant to give such approvals because of the Eskom power shortage as well as their own problems in delivering infrastructure.

The ”package” of electricity back-up solutions is a combination of existing technology and innovative implementation. It includes batteries, use of hybrid solar geysers (using electrical elements and solar panels) and ripple switches that automatically switch off power when load shedding is needed.

“The batteries store power while it is available and then provide power to the household should the mains power be cut,” says Peter Henning of ERA Tzaneen, who together with Dr Theo de Jager, have come up with the idea.

Sufficient power is provided by the batteries for most household appliances, although not for geysers, and the switch over takes place within milliseconds, he explains. “The duration of power availability depends on usage, but if used conservatively it lasts for several hours at least, with the hybrid geysers providing hot water.”

Typically, says Henning, the components of the package would be installed for each unit in a cluster or sectional title development. The cost to the buyer would be moderate and the developer would have a highly desirable product to market.

‘We believe the package provides a better alternative than diesel power generation which is expensive while diesel itself may be in short supply in winter.

And we are going ahead with a pilot project for which we have approval from the Tzaneen municipality.”

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