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NWU installs PV for training

A grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) solar installation system, which comprises five 3 kW solar PV panels, completed in August last year, has so far facilitated training of over 120 candidates at North-West University’s (NWU’s) Potchefstroom campus.

The 3 kW island system powers the engineering faculty on the campus, feeding directly into the department’s electricity grid and was installed close to the main entrance of the faculty to charge three electric scooters and an electric bicycle used as transport on the campus.

In addition to its power generation capability, the system, which emerged as a partnership project between PV specialists SUNFarming, in Germany, and SUNCybernetics, in South Africa, was also developed to provide practical training opportunities at the NWU for members of the faculty and companies in the region that required a comprehensive theoretical and practical understanding of PV solar systems.

The centre, dubbed the Solar Training Centre of South Africa, was supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and financed by the NWU, SUNFarming, banking group KfW and German investment and development corporation DEG.

SUNCybernetics facilitated training for candidates using a generic training module and the NWU’s PV installation as the practical example to showcase the preparation, planning, project execution, installation techniques and commissioning of PV plant installations on various roof areas.

The PV training course also covered the possibilities of PV technology using solar radiation as an energy source, while addressing various technical considerations such as fuse choices, overvoltage and electromotive force-protection, monitoring, metering, electrical circuits and troubleshooting.

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