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Genesis 1, 28 says that we should "go forth and multiply, and replenish the earth." Not all Bibles have this "replenish the e...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Super Profits in Electricity Generation


"Electricity networks are run as super-profit-making operations with few environmental responsibilities."

Eskom and their suppliers and the oil giants don't want anyone to know this!

They are so scared of renewable energy that they are doing everything in their power to prevent renewable energy's market penetration, even if it means that their countries are in terminal decline!

Note that there are super-profits to be made in Renewable Energy generation. The only thing is that these profits sit with the customer, who becomes a power station. If you are paying R1.47 per kWh (including VAT) for your electricity and you can produce your own electricity for R1.36 per kWh and never have another price increase, you will very quickly see the super-profits you will make. And if you get the big rebates that Eskom give their big customers, you can reduce your electricity cost to 94 cents per kWh or less.

35,000 private people spending an average of R1,000 per month on electricity are spending over R1 million per day on electricity. If you spend more than R1m a day on electricity you are one of Eskom's biggest customers. If you build a power station and supply Eskom with electricity, either by reducing your consumption so that Eskom can sell to other people, or by actually supplying the grid with electricity, you can make these super-profits. And if you can supply the electricity to the grid at peak time, you can make even more money! Peak time is 7 to 10am and 6 to 8pm. The 6 to 8pm peak will earn you more money than the 7 to 10am peak.

We can start this project by getting a group of people together who are spending R500,000 per month on electricity. Do you want to join us? Are you interested in saving 85% of your electricity bills over the next 20 years and in making an income at the same time? Let us know. Reply to this BLOG or join the SAAEA and help us with our work.

By: David Lipschitz, Board Member of the SAAEA

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Become a power station and make fortunes. Retire young.

Eskom Tariff to Double by 2015. So what to do about it. Don't buy electricity from Eskom. Instead sell electricity to Eskom! We can make electricity on our roofs and sell it to Eskom.

Dear all. Instead of complaining, South Africa's favourite pastime, do something about it. Like NetMeteringSA and Mandelaton.

When we get to 1,000 likes we will start changing our world. When we get to 50,000 likes we will be Eskom's biggest customer! We will also be their biggest competitor.

And our prices NEVER, EVER, have to increase again.

It starts with us working together.
Still unsure. Watch: The Five Winners.

Please start by liking the two Facebook links as well as my video. It won't cost you anything to do this.

Ke nako (the time is right for the people to take responsibility for themselves and to NEVER have another electricity price hike).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

SAAEA Gold Membership and Green Merlin Award

David Lipschitz and My Power Station awarded SAAEA (South African Alternative Energy Association) Gold Membership and Green Merlin Award for services to Renewable Energy in South Africa.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

David Lipschitz - The Five Winners

We're at Grid Parity. Watch David Lipschitz of My Power Station discuss The Five Winners.

* The customer wins.
* The suppliers win.
* Eskom wins.
* The government and cities win.
* The environment wins.

With special thanks to Neil Webster and Adrian Charles of FixerFilm (http://www.fixerfilm.com/) for this magnificent quality photography and editing.

"It starts with us working together."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Photovoltaic Electricity at Parity?

Photovoltaic Electricity at Parity?

Imported from a Knol I wrote in September 2011

Is Photovoltaic (PV) electricity the same price as Electricity from the City of Cape Town?
A household using 1200 kwh of electricity is paying R1.28 per kwh, ie R1536 incr VAT and R1347 excl VAT, or R1.12 per kwh. If we can install for R25 per watt for business owners working from home who have cash to invest and who are earning 7% on their money, then the cost per watt is R1.12 per kwh.

Created: 17 Sep 2011

I thought you might like to know that under certain conditions Grid Tie PV with Reverse Feed is equal to or cheaper than City of Cape Town electricity, three years ahead of schedule!! Reverse Feed is still "not illegal" according to the City of Cape Town. How can we make it legal?

The reason for this amazing state of affairs is because the price of City of Cape Town electricity for homeowners has doubled, whilst the cost of Grid Tie PV has halved.

Here are the assumptions:

  1. Minimum order(s) of 60KW, eg 12 x 5 KW houses;
  2. Business owner working from home paying R1.28 per kwh incl VAT for 1200 kwh per month;
  3. Business owner has a cash deposit earning 7%, ie money is used from cash deposit rather than from debt;
  4. System financed over 20 years;
  5. Daily Average Sun Hours of 5.7 per day in Cape Town;
  6. Reasonably simple roof install. Complex roof installs can push up the price to R35 per watt;
  7. O&M, Operation & Maintenance costs including Repairs and Maintenance, Security, Insurance, included in PV price makes PV installed price R1.28 per kwh!!

Note that I have put a consortium together called ESX Energy Saving Experts. We have done 57 PV projects over the past 2.5 years totaling 151KW; 200W min; 36KW max. Note that a 1200 kwh house needs 8 KW to take it off the grid, but with Energy Efficiency, one can reduce this to 3 KW. This brings the Renewable Energy price down below R1.28 per kwh.

In a year's time if the City of Cape Town increases prices by 25% to R1.60 per kwh and assuming PV doesn't reduce, we are at parity including borrowing from one's bond at 10% per annum. This price is R1.60 per kwh including VAT!! If PV reduces to R20 per watt as we are expecting, then the PV price per kwh will be less than the City of Cape Town price per kwh.

Here is the explanation in English:

A grid tie system is one where all the output from the Photovoltaic (PV) Panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, is fed via Grid Tie inverters into the Electrical Grid. This feeding the grid is called "reverse feed."

A private homeowner in Cape Town using 1200 KWH per month pays R1.28 per kwh including VAT for a total of R1536 per month.

If one can sell excess electricity to the City of Cape Town at the same rate of R1.28 per KWH, then this is called "Net Metering." The PV system owner buys and sells electricity at the same rate.

In a Grid Tie with Net Metering scenario, the grid is called the battery. In 5 average sun hours the house can make enough electricity for the day. When the sun is down the grid supplies the electricity.

Other system designs are 1) hybrid systems with Grid Tie and Battery Backup so that if there is a power failure then critical loads like lights, TV, computer, gates, garages, can have electricity during the power failure; and 2) battery only systems that are used off grid which don't connect to the grid and which must have batteries and which often have generators as backup.

So if a house uses 1200 KWH per month, then per day this is 39.5 KWH (1200 KWH * 12 months / 365 days). Divide 1200 KWH by 5 for average sun hours per day and we get to 8 KW. Note that if we divide by the South African average of 5.7 average sun hours, we need a 7 KW system. And if we are in Upington, we can divide by 8.2 and get a 5 KW system. Note that in London, England, the average sun hours is 2.4 which means that an 8 KW system produces 42% of an 8 KW PV system in South Africa. Germany installs half of the world's PV panels. If they have to install twice as many panels as we need to for the same KWH production and they have been doing this for 20 years, then what is our problem?

The kw (kilowatts) represent the demand and the kwh (kilowatt-hours) represents the consumption. See http://www.think-energy.net/KWvsKWH.htm for a more detailed explanation.

When I do quotes over the phone, the guideline pricing I was using till August 2011 was R40 per watt for Grid Tie; R60 per watt for Grid Tie with battery backup; and R90 per watt for battery only. Usually once we have done a design, the price will be less than this, but the quote gives the client a starting point.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm also assuming that we will need to install the full 8 KW whereas in practice, one would do a bunch of energy efficiency exercises which could reduce electricity demand by as much as 70%, meaning that only 3 KW of PV might be required. This could reduce the R320,000 system to R180,000. I have a different presentation which shows this. This also assumes there is enough space for the full 8 KW on the roof of the house. In many situations there might only be enough space for between 2 and 4 KW, but every little bit helps. The installation will reduce the homeowner's electricity bill whilst at the same time reducing demand on the grid, thus reducing the need for coal or uranium and reducing pollution.

In August 2011 we did a quote for a client for a 163 KW system for a flat roof on a building. Our price was R23 per watt. 1MW and greater systems are currently priced at R35 per watt; and Coca Cola did an install on their Valpre bottling plant in August 2011 at R53 per watt. I should note that our R23 per watt increases depending on the complexity of the installation and is subject to a full design which is per client.  I should note that we charge our clients for designs and hence our installed prices per watt are quite a lot less than our competitors costs.  Historically we have only got 1 out of 20 designs changed into orders.  This means that we need to charge a lot more per watt for our systems.  This is the same in the industry.  It hurts the market and makes systems more expensive than they need to be.

My main income still comes from working in the Information Technology (Computer) Industry.  In this industry, we do quotes for free.  The quote is based on a relatively short meeting with a client, followed by a thumb suck estimate.  If the client is happy with this, then the client pays for Systems Analysis and Design.  Once this process is complete, we charge the client for programming, testing, installation, support, maintenance, upgrade, etc.  Why should the Renewable Energy Industry be any different?

In order to get the economies of scale that selling the PV system at R23 or even R30 per watt needs, we would need a minimum order of 60 KW which is 12 x 5 KW houses or 8 x 8 KW houses. The reward for someone being prepared to wait is a much better costing.

The next area to consider is interest rates and repayment times. Normally one uses 10% to 13% in South Africa for the capital borrowing cost. Someone might borrow from their bond 10% or from a specialist financial institution using more expensive finance at 13%.  If borrowing from bond or selling investments such as unit trusts, one can "borrow" over 20 years.  Typically financial institutions want repayments over 7 years at 13% thus pushing up the cost per watt (and per kwh) of the installation.

But consider a retired person who has cash, or a wealthy person without debt and with cash investments, unit trusts, shares, etc. This person's portfolio might be growing at 7% per annum, which means that if the person takes money out of this capital to finance a Renewable Energy purchase, then they need to earn at least the value of the money that they were earning.

Considering that the equipment will last for at least 20 years with only the inverter needing replacement in 12 to 15 years, we can borrow money over 20 years. And at the 7% just discussed.

An 8 KW system at R23 per watt is R161,000. Borrowing R161,000 at 7% over 20 years is R1278 per month. I used the Bond Repayment calculator on Standard Bank's web site for this. At R25 per watt we get to R1583 per month which is almost exactly the same as what the person is paying for their electricity.

So if my numbers are right, and if we can install for R25 per watt, and if we can use capital at 7% over 20 years, then we are already at "grid parity" for homeowners in the City of Cape Town who are living off interest on their capital!!

So pensioners would be wise to consider Net Metering for their electricity consumption. If we can install at R23 per watt then the pensioner immediately saves R1536 - R1278 = R258 by making their own electricity!! And their house will become more valuable and more sellable should they wish to sell it later on.

At 10%, and at R25 per watt, the monthly cost is R1970 for R200,000. In July 2012, R1536 becomes R1920, so in one year, we are at parity for homeowners who can take money out of their bonds to pay for their own electricity generation.

Please note that this is not rocket science. Electricity was invented in nature at the beginning of time (think lightening) and by mankind a few hundred years ago. Most homeowners in South Africa use electricity every single day, either at home or at work, or even if they don't use electricity directly, if they use water or take a bus, they are using electricity indirectly.

There are numerous countries which allow reverse feed, some with Net Metering and some with Feed In Tariffs. Considering that our electricity in South Africa is so expensive, we don't need Feed In Tariffs for homeowners. But we do need our ANC and DA government to allow people to reverse feed the grid and to take full advantage of the total electricity that their PV panels produces. The problem with a battery only solution or a solution which doesn't allow reverse feed is that the system might only be 30% efficient, thus pushing the cost of the system up per KWH. Note that in many cases, one can install systems that are Grid Tied but that never reverse feed the grid. This would happen if, for example, a business's base load is 10 KW, and they install a 5 KW system. In this case, the system can be Grid Tied and it will never reverse feed the grid. Government is already allowing these kinds of systems, for example Pick 'n Pay in Joburg which has a 100 KW system.

Eskom say they can't rely on the Grid Tie inverter disconnecting from the grid if the grid is shut down and that an electrician working on the power lines might get electrocuted (get a shock). This problem was resolved in 1999 with two international standards that all good Grid Tie inverters adhere to. In fact the grid doesn't have to go down for the inverter to disconnect and stop feeding electricity into the grid. If the grid voltage is out of range (eg less than 208 Volts or more than 250 Volts) or if the frequency is wrong, then the Grid Tie Inverter disconnects. And in any case, anyone working on power lines should check if there is voltage on the line before working on it. It is also possible to isolate the grid tie inverter by switching off its connection to the Grid. In the USA there is a law called NEC (National Electrical Code) Article 690 which governs Renewable Energy systems. South Africa could easily adopt this law.

From Wikipedia: Since 1999, the standard for anti-islanding protection in the United States has been UL 1741, harmonized with IEEE 1547. Any inverter which is listed to the UL 1741 standard may be connected to a utility grid without the need for additional anti-islanding equipment, anywhere in the United States or other countries where UL standards are accepted.

So what are we waiting for? Ke Nako. The time is right for homeowners to take responsibility for the own electricity provision, especially that they can now make their own electricity cheaper than the City of Cape Town can provide it. And at the same time, they will cut their carbon footprint and become sustainable human beings.

Does South Africa have cheap electricity? Homeowners in the City of Cape Town pay US 17 cents per KWH. In Austin, Texas, homeowners pay US 9 cents per KWH and in Gujarat, India, homeowners pay US 7 cents per KWH. The culprit for cheap energy is basically the South African government which gave big business electricity at between 12 South African cents per KWH and 60 South African cents per KWH on long term contracts hoping for jobs. Was it worth it? I don't know. These companies are saying they'll close if the price of electricity rises again. Do South Africans need to be scared of this? Not if they can make their own electricity, collect or get their own water, grow their own food, build their own houses and make their own clothes. This has been happening in South Africa, and currently happens in the Eastern Cape, which we are told has high unemployment. But this unemployment figure is based on our Western Notion of employment and not on the needs of the people.

Ke Nako. The time is right for people to take ownership of their needs.

We do all types of on grid and off grid and hybrid installations for homeowners, businesses, and townships. Finance is available on a project by project basis subject to a business case and financial numbers that make sense.

I have my own system with 1 KW of PV and a 1 KW turbine. I hope to upgrade this to 3 KW of PV in the near future.

Battery problems have been sorted out. I can send you a separate presentation which shows that using batteries under certain conditions are cheaper than building coal fired power stations.

It's just a matter of realising how to use what's available. Everything exists already.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Horses instead of Tractors?

Should We Go Back To Using Horses Instead Of Tractors? Tractor emitted 55 kg of CO2 per acre; 10 kg from the horse. http://bit.ly/K0OLMq

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What are we suffering? Why are South African's suffering?

The real reason for sluggish growth in South Africa!!


What can we do about it?

Join/Like https://www.facebook.com/NetMeteringSA and show that you care and that you want a better environment, a more healthy lifestyle, that you want to save money, and that you want a better life for yourselves and your children.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Green Power Network: Net Metering

More on what Net Metering is all about: Green Power Network: Net Metering

Also see Net Metering web site and Net Metering on FaceBook.

Please fill in our survey if you'd like to save money on electricity.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Day 2012 2012-04-01

The biggest April fools are ourselves.

If we work together we can cut our electricity bills by up to 50%.

But currently I have no idea how we can achieve this.

What I do have is a Survey that’s asking people if they are interested in saving money. See http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NetMetering-2012-12-22

Friday, March 30, 2012

Renewable Energy Skeptics Beware

So on Engineering News, Chris Herold, a Renewable Energy skeptic, asked: "Really, you can get electricity out of solar PV from 6 am to 10 pm? You must be living in a parallel universe where the sun shines at different times. And what will you do during peak periods? The biggest evening peak is after sunset. Solar energy is also pretty weak during the morning peak (even worse during winter in Cape Town). All you would achieve is to double the capital cost of overall generating capacity, since we would still need to invest in REAL base load generation. PPP - Peak Power Parasite."

And this is my answer:

Yes really :) An average 3 bedroom 4 person middle class household use 1200 kWh per month. * 12 months / 365 days / 5 average peak sun hours gives an 8 KW grid tie PV system. In July 2012, this family will be paying R1800 per month including VAT for their electricity. R182,400 at 10% per annum over 20 years is R1800 per month!! At R22.80 per watt, 8 KW is R182,400 which is R1800 per month. ie pay the CoCT R1800 per month for electricity or use Net Metering any pay R1800 per month for your PV system.
Then get more clever. Invest R60,000 reducing your electricity requirement by 70%. This means that one needs a 3 KW system. Total price R120,000 or R1200 per month or R1 per kWh instead of R1.50 per kWh.
Then get the Eskom ESCO rebate of 42 cents per kWh at peak time and 10 cents per kWh at off peak time and this equates to R29 per 10% saving in electricity per house per month, ie another R290 off making the per kWh price 82 cents instead of R1.50.
Then use this difference to put in Vanadium Redox battery banks and Ultra-Capacitors and Hydrogen Fuel Cells and load shedding and smart metering systems for households and you have a more localised, reliable system at a cost that Eskom and the Cities can't match. And Eskom pays people who load shed more than 1 MW within 1 second of notification and you have a system which costs less than 82 cents per kWh.
My company and its consortium members has all this technology available today for installation within 3 months! So lets do it and stop saying it can't be done.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Make your own electricity cheaper than you can buy it survey

Make your own electricity cheaper than you can buy it survey

If you'd like to make your own electricity cheaper than you can buy it and prevent Fracking and Nuclear Energy, please fill in this Survey. 25 people have already replied. I'd like to get at least 1000 replies asap.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

David Lipschitz on Net Metering 2012-02-22

Attention Messrs Achim Steiner, Adnan Amin and Kandeh Yumkella
Your article in the Business Day is incredibly timeous as this past week I have reinvigorated my campaign regarding Net Metering.
South Africa is in a recession largely because of lack of electricity supply. This can easily and cost effectively be resolved by allowing Net Metering. By July this year, private citizens in Cape Town will be able to make their own electricity cheaper than we can buy it. And I have financial numbers which show that larger companies can already make their own electricity cheaper than they can buy it.
With Net Metering, users of electricity can buy and sell electricity at the same price. For example, if I produce 1 KW and need 2 KW, then I buy 1 KW from the Grid. Effectively, my meter is going slower than normal. And if I produce 2 KW and need 1 KW then I export electricity to the grid and my meter goes backwards at the same speed it goes forwards. This only happens with people who pay for their electricity in arrears and who have the old fashioned disk meters which look like small metal CDs. Prepaid meters either stop working, stop turning, or go forwards when one is exporting to the grid!
The South African Bureau of Standards created a document called NRS 097-2-1:2010 which was adopted by NERSA, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, in 2011. The technical term for this Grid Integration, Reverse Feed and Net Metering is "Grid Interconnection of Embedded Generation."
It allows for Grid Tie systems up to 100 KW, an artificial limit. I have two clients who are considering buying large roof top net metering systems: one at 700 KW and one at 500 KW. I also have numerous smaller potential clients who want to use Net Metering and know of a number of people who are already reverse feeding the grid. The grid doesn't see them and they are having very little effect. Their excess electricity is simply used by the neighbour.
Eskom and The Cities, including the so called advanced city of Cape Town and the Western Cape's Provincial Administration (PAWC), have not adopted the "Embedded Generation" policies. The three main reasons given are:
  1. The Grid Tie inverter might reverse feed the grid when the grid is switched off, eg for maintenance, and an electrician working on the line might get electrocuted;
  2. Eskom and the Cities will lose revenue;
  3. The grid might become destabilised.
1 was resolved in 1999 with the American UL 1741 standard which was harmonized with IEEE 1547. Any inverter which is listed to the UL 1741 standard may be connected to a utility grid without the need for additional anti-islanding equipment, anywhere in the United States or other countries where UL standards are accepted. A similar acceptance of the IEEE 1547 is happening in Europe. An island is a grid which can run internally, for example inside a building, without exporting electricity to the main grid. Many companies in South Africa already have Generators and when there is Load Shedding, ie enforced power failures because the demand is either too high or the supply too low, these systems "Island" the Generator and its "clients" until the Grid is restored and then there is a process of disconnecting the Island and reconnecting the Grid. These processes happen seamlessly and are installed by Electrical Engineers.
2 would be solved if government would see out of their silos. The opportunities are great if Citizens of the City of Cape Town and other cities could get the government, which owns Eskom, and the Cities to see out of their silos. I believe that the City of Cape Town gets 60% of its Revenue from Electricity Sales and the 150% increase in electricity over the past 5 years has increased this percentage from 40%. The fastest way to get renewable energy adopted is to allow private people and business owners with the required roof space to cover their roofs in Photovoltaic Systems. This will create jobs, reduce unemployment, reduce crime, increase lighting and electricity in Africa, give security of supply, fewer power failures, less chance of load shedding, and help move us away from polluting power stations. In places like Germany, California and China, the more renewable energy that is installed, the faster the economy grows. This is because the bigger base load power would then be available for the organisations needing the bigger loads, for example shopping centres, new housing developments, miners, smelters and other large users of electricity. And more importantly businesses know their electricity price for decades and can plan accordingly; and businesses get security of supply and fewer disruptions caused by electrical systems failure.
3 is a red herring. I understand that Turkey has found that wind farms up to 500 KW actually stabilise the grid. And in South Africa the two new 4.8 GW power stations will massively destabilise the grid when they are switched on and switched off. Switching on or off 1 KW or 500 KW is tiny compared with 4.8 GW, ie 4,800,000 KW. And if South Africa loses the main power lines from Mpumalanga to the Cape, for example in a storm or terrorist activity, then Cape Town could quickly be without 60% of its electricity supply as only 40% of Cape Town's electricity supply comes from our local Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.
I should say that large users of Renewable Energy such as Germany and Belgium notice problems on their grids when the Renewable Energy component reaches 20% of electricity supply, but it has taken these countries 20 years to get to this point, and with Feed In Tariffs. I think South Africa can do it in 10 years, and by then Germany and Belgium will have solved their problems and South Africa will be able to follow their lead. Breaking news: Germany is solving this grid destabilisation problem!!
I would very much like to help you in any way I can. In November 2008, the South African government announced that Feed In Tariffs (FITs) would be in place by March 2009. My company and hundreds of others decided to get ready for this momentous day. Unfortunately this didn't happen. There were FITs but no Power Purchase Agreement. Since approximately 2009, there has been a 2 cent levy (see what it was meant to be for!) on all electricity sold in place to pay for the FITs and my understanding is that there is R15 billion in this fund already. Be that as it may, we don't need FITs in South Africa anymore. We just need the implementation of Net Metering. Interestingly the Standard allows for Time Of Use Tariffs which would incentivise people to install battery systems to supply electricity at peak time whilst producing or buying electricity at off peak time.
And the R15 billion could be used on a first come first served basis to allow private people to install renewable energy systems before VAT and before tax. Businesses can already do this. See http://mypowerstation.co.za/2011/11/26/my-power-station-press-release-26th-november-2011-david-lipschitzs-renewable-energy-jobs-plan/  for more ideas along this theme.
Hence there would be zero drain on the fiscus and massive job and GDP creation on a Continent that will have the biggest consumer base in the world in the next 20 years. We can either supply our own needs or export our electricity requirements to China and the other Asian Tigers who are massively ramping up electricity production and who will end up making everything we need, but who will then end up owning Africa, as large creditors usually end up owning their customers when the customer cannot pay the bill.
The positive possibilities of Net Metering in Africa's biggest economy and in the rest of Africa are mind blowing. Let's work together to make a difference.
I look forward to your reply and to helping make Renewable Energy a reality in South Africa and on the African Continent.