Grape vines at a wine farm

Wine Farms Taking Advantage of Solar Energy

Electricity prices are continuously going up. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that many wine farms of all sizes are turning to other ways of getting power for their farms, Renewable power generation, especially the power generated from solar photovoltaic is becoming increasingly popular. 

The whole of the continent of Africa enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year – this is according to the SA Department of Energy. Solar radiation globally is in the region of 220W/m2 for South Africa compared to other places that have only in the region of 150 W/m2 (the USA) and in the region of 100W/m2 for the UK and Europe. As the stats indicate – South Africa is one of the spots with the most sunshine in the world. 

The wine industry in South Africa boasts a long history of making as little impact as possible on the environment. 

It should come as no surprise that many wine farms throughout South Africa are installing Solar PV technology on their estates to create sustainable energy resources and to become less dependent on the power grid whilst reducing their carbon footprint.  

Many wine farms and wine farmers are keen on implementing conservation in their farming methods – solar power is one step further and makes sense. Winemaking consumes plenty of electricity and if this can be controlled with savings made in this area of wine production, then this money could be put to other, better use. 

As prices for electricity from the grid spiral out of control, it has become a matter of urgency for wine farms to turn to renewable power generation – particularly where solar photovoltaic is used to reduce the costs of power from the grid. 

Until quite recently, exorbitant costs of PV panels made it an expensive exercise to install solar PV – this was the case with most industries including the wine industry. Over the past couple of years, there has been a marked reduction in the cost of solar modules and are now more affordable to implement. 

The potential savings of solar plants will generate substantial amounts for wine farms – this applies to all winemakers, including the smaller farms.  

As with all businesses, wine farms need to save money, and with the right energy solutions for farms of all sizessolar will hedge the costs against any future electricity increases. 

H2 – Why should wine farms switch to and embrace solar? 

  • With solar energy, you will be able to protect your wine farm from any increases in the foreseeable future when it comes to increases in utility prices 
  • Installing solar on your wine farm will allow you the opportunity to make a difference  
  • Installing solar means that you can reduce your energy costs for running your farm 
  • Solar enables you, the wine farmer, to reduce your carbon footprint 
  • Become independent and powerful by not relying on an unstable power grid 
  • Become a beacon of environmental responsibility by installing clean power to use on your farm 
  • By implementing an environmentally friendly brand consumers will have confidence in your brand 
  • There are definite tax benefits with installing solar 
  • Solar is used for borehole pumps 
  • Quality is maintained as power is not compromised 

Tax benefits for installing solar on your wine farm 

To qualify for tax benefits from installing solar – all machinery, implements and utensils need to be owned by the taxpayer claiming for deductions. These can also be under credit arrangements 

These machines or implements are brought to the taxpayer for the first time 

These machines or implements are being used by the taxpayer in the generation of electricity from renewable energy resources 

A taxpayer is permitted a deduction of costs of the asset producing electricity at 50% of deduction costs in the first year of use, 30% in the second year and the rest in the 3rd year of use. If the system produces less than a megawatt then the taxpayer will be permitted a 100% deduction in the first year of use. 

Renewable energy is the obvious way moving forward with consumers driving the market for sustainable wines. It is only a question of time before the wine industry is driven entirely by the sun. 






Shopping Centres and Solar Power

Owners of shopping malls and shopping centres, are now, more than ever, opting for solar power energy resources. It is time to take back the power and to become independent from the power grid. 

The past ten years have seen the price of electricity in South Africa increasing more than 300%! This is a huge amount of money and there is no end in sight for increases and demand. Load shedding has cost businesses both large and small billions, not to mention the debilitating effect power outages have had on the economy. 

Solar energy is becoming more affordable and the advancement in batteries and technology has resulted in many shopping centres and malls going off the grid. 

The investment of solar photovoltaic systems could be one of the wisest decisions owners of retail malls and centres can make. Installing solar power can provide a huge advantage over other centres that are using power from the grid. 

It is no secret that the power utility is becoming more and more expensive with bills mounting up just to keep the lights on and the doors open. The owners of malls and other commercial buildings will gain a competitive edge by installing solar power on their rooftops.  

One of the biggest advantages is that there will be no power hikes. Over a decade or more shopping centres and malls will be paying the same amount for their utility usage, whereas, other malls and centres using power from the grid will see their electricity bills double, triple or quadruple in the same period. Additionally, going green and promoting an eco-friendly business is great PR. 

Solar panels guarantee free electricity for many years by installing solar – often generating free electricity for 25 years, although many solar panels can last up to forty years. 

Going off the grid 

Going independent and off the grid will result in savings in the long-term. The savings will soon pay for the solar installations and will keep the lights on when the power from the grid dips, surges, experiences brownouts and blackouts. The never-ending price hikes in electricity from the grid will become something of the past. Shopping malls and shopping centres will no longer be the victim of mismanagement and monopolism of the utility once they are using solar power. It is a good time for businesses to take back their power. 

Off the grid solutions could also include power stored in batteries, large capacitors and flywheels for times when there is low sunlight. Saved power is used when necessary.  

There are optional grid connections that are useful for the power to stay on when there is insufficient storage in your batteries. These solutions are a brilliant option for remote areas where power is required. 

Reducing your carbon footprint 

The biggest advantage of installing solar power for shopping malls and shopping centres is that it has zero-air pollution. This is over and above the fact that solar saves money, creates jobs and boosts economic development. 

 While our world is faced with the growing problem of global warming, installing solar power is one of the best ways for retail shopping centre owners to reduce their carbon footprint and in the process save money on future retail shopping center electricity bills. 

South Africa is blanketed in solar resources availability that is one of the highest in the world and has sunshine almost all year round. 

The solar irradiance levels, particularly in the North Cape and North-West Province, means that the strength of the solar power received is very usable. South Africa is well-placed to make use of free, reliable energy from the sun throughout the year. 

Shopping Centres and Shopping Malls are increasingly using solar power to power a clean energy future. Solar energy is one of the best options from a cleanliness aspect with no emissions released when using PV panels. 

South Africa is currently faced with numerous challenges in providing affordable, reliable energy in today’s complex energy market due to the continued rising demand for electricity. Owners of shopping malls and centres make a difference when using solar. 



Office space with desks and chairs

6 Small and Medium-Sized Business That Use the Most Energy

Small to medium-sized businesses must watch their energy consumption once they are up and running. It is easy for power usage to spiral out of control. Get your utility to assist with breaking down exactly where the energy costs are being used. 

These six businesses are the biggest culprits for using the most energy 

  • Car Dealerships 
  • Grocery outlets 
  • Bakeries 
  • Restaurants 
  • Convenience stores 
  • Hotels and Motels 

Why car dealerships use so much energy 

Perhaps the three biggest causes of using so much energy in the car dealership industry would be lighting, lighting and lighting! A showroom without bright lights would be equal to a rainbow without colours. 

Car dealerships require plenty of bright light to function properly. Car showrooms require plenty of bright lights to light of showrooms to be able to view cars to enjoy the best view possible to look inviting and put their best foot forward. Additionally, car showrooms require bright lights to ensure the vehicles are kept safely. Furthermore, air conditioning units and heating of buildings combined with computer costs and security systems combined with service centre equipment power needs. A small percentage of reduction of power usage by dealerships throughout the country will result in massive savings. 

It is important to pinpoint which equipment is using the most power – this can be done by a process of elimination when the equipment is not in use. Replace lighting with more efficient lighting systems, insulate your doors, and install eco-friendly heating and air conditioning units. 

Why grocery outlets, bakeries, restaurants and convenience outletuse so much energyHere are some of the reasons why these businesses using so much energy 

Refrigeration and kitchen costs can add up. Grocery stores and convenience shops that have bakeries and delis attached to them need to ensure that their refrigeration is kept in peak condition 

Grocery stores that have bakeries and delis have to factor in costs of kitchen equipment. Ovens will be part of this. Bakeries and restaurants have these costs too. Costs that include lighting, heating and cooling for the comfort of customers need to be calculated into these costs. Factor lighting in, too, if the facility is open after work hours. 

Convenience stores and garage combinations use a massive amount of electricity as these bright lights light up the pumps day and night. The power used will be quite substantial. 

And convenience stores that have gas stations attached, with their bright lights by the pumps? That power bill is going to be even bigger.  

All the above businesses should consider switching to closed lighting cases and installing efficient HVAC systems (HVAC equipment has a control system that regulates the heating and air conditioning). 

Consider installing solar panels to make your business run more efficiently. The savings on energy can give the SME a financial boost when profits are low. 

Why motels and hotels use so much energy 

Motels and hotels are establishments that are open for 24 hours a day; therefore, they use huge amounts of lighting and energy. Guests who stay over in hotels and motels blast air conditioning and often leave the lights blazing. 

Fit lights that only come on automatically when the door is unlocked. Make changes is by using as much natural light as possible – large windows that let natural light into the rooms when unoccupied or being cleaned. Lobbies that have natural light streaming through windows is a great idea. Increasing natural light and modifying landscaping will protect buildings naturally from harsh sunlight and the relentless summer sun. 

These six SMEs can find numerous ways to reduce costs, save masses of energy and make their businesses run more profitably. Change the way you think and the way you use energy – begin by evaluating your power usage. 





Warehouse shelves

Ways To Make Your Warehouse More Energy Efficient

The biggest energy gobblers in any warehouse are temperature control and lightning. Energy control in the form of heating, refrigeration and cooling will impact on your bottom line. By reducing the two biggest energy gobbling culprits, you can make a massive saving in your business. 

Save energy and money while reducing the carbon footprint of your warehousing facility – here’s how: 

Add shading around your warehouse as this will reduce heat and can minimise costs of cooling. 

Forklifts that are battery-operated instead of electrical machinery will reduce the need for added ventilation and reduce the load on exhaust fans, thus saving energy. 

Taking these and other smart steps towards saving energy will make a positive impact on your carbon footprint. 

H2 – Green Energy Saving Hacks for your warehousing facility 

  • Plant trees and greenery around the perimeter of your warehouse instead of using paving and cement slabs. Paving and cement reflect sunlight plus they store heat which can impact on the temperature of your building. Shady trees and shrubs will reduce your cooling bill while making your building and warehouse facility more carbonfriendly 
  • Choose building materials that are within proximity to reduce costs on transportation 
  • Wherever possible use recycled materials such as recycled wood and recycled steel products Support environmentally friendly companies 
  • Battery-powered forklifts will reduce emissions and minimise loads on exhaust fans and ventilation systems. By reducing the load, the lifespan will be increased on these systems which will save you money as you won’t have to replace these systems quite as often 

More tips to save power 

Add partition walls as they will insulate and control temperatures. Insulated partition walls are especially useful for temperatures that are varied across a large warehouse floor space or area. 

Warehouse doors need to be insulated as these will save your warehouse energy. It is essential to insulate warehouse doors; open doors lose energy in any warehouse. Your doors need to be of the high-speed variety (they close quickly),minimising the loss of energy, and they need to be easy to repair. Fast-moving doors that are insulated will put money back into the bank. 


Install air curtains where doors need to be left open. It is of great interest to learn that air curtains can save your business as much as 80% of the energy which is usually lost through an open door. Air curtains are a surprisingly cost-effective method of saving energy in warehouse situations, plus they double up to prevent insects from flying into your warehouse. 

Choose fluorescent lighting over sodium lights and metal halide lights. Fluro lights could save up to 80% on your energy bill. 

Natural lighting is perhaps your most cost-effective solutions for warehousing. Choose glazed skylighting on the north and south-facing walls which will provide excellent natural lighting. It is believed that natural light encourages production and boosts the morale of workers. Choose automated lighting systems for your warehouse to adjust as daylight fades into night. 

There are many ways to reduce the power usage in a business, whether it is a small to medium enterprise (SME) or a large blue-chip company with numerous branchesBy installing solar, using natural resources wherever possible, and installing the right protection for all your devices when the power is unstable will save you in the long run. Shop around for the right systems and protective devices for your business, regardless of size.