Online tools aimed at promoting solar PV in Durban

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Wednesday, May 27, 2015

<p>Screenshot of the Durban Solar Map (Image source: <a href="http://www.durbansolarmap.co.za" title="www.durbansolarmap.co.za">www.durbansolarmap.co.za</a>)</p>

Screenshot of the Durban Solar Map (Image source: www.durbansolarmap.co.za)

As part of their efforts to promote solar photovoltaic (PV) installations as a significant contributor to energy supply in Durban, eThekwini Municipality’s Energy Office has launched tools to help residents and local installation companies to approximate the costs and savings of potential solar PV installations. These tools were developed under the Durban Solar City Project which is a collaboration between eThekwini Municipality, Camco Clean Energy and Astrum Energy. 

Durban Solar Map

The Durban Solar Map is an interactive website that allows Durban residents to plan solar PV installations on their roof tops. Residents making use of the site can type their address into the search bar and the map will zoom to their specific property.  Residents can then use the drawing tool to highlight the roof area where they would like to install solar PV panels. The site will automatically calculate the size, electricity output and cost of an installation on the defined area as well as the potential annual savings. Dr Susanna Godehart from the Energy Office explained that the website is intended to provide a rough estimate for small scale installations and noted that for accurate quotes, residents would need to consult a company which specialises in solar installations. 

Screenshot of the Durban Solar Map (Image source: <a href=www.durbansolarmap.co.za)" src="/sites/default/files/solarmapscreenshot.png" style="width: 425px; height: 267px;">

Durban Solar Financial Model

The Durban Solar Financial Model is a more comprehensive calculator aimed at assisting solar installers based in Durban with calculating the payback period of installations. The calculation takes the technical information such as the output, income and rates, investment and installation, expenses and finance structure, and depreciation into account. Florian Kroeber from Astrum Energy noted that the tool is based on Durban’s local radiation hours, however if the radiation is adjusted, the financial model can be used anywhere in South Africa.

Screenshot of the Durban Solar Financial Model (Image source: <a href=http://www.durban.gov.za/City_Services/energyoffice/Pages/Durban-Solar-F...)" src="/sites/default/files/solarfinancialscreenshot.jpg" style="width: 425px; height: 262px;">

The way forward

Godehart encourages Durban citizens and installers to make use of the tools. She noted that costs will be updated regularly to ensure that the tools provide a fairly accurate guide to users.

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