Goodwe solution powers Plett shopping centre
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Goodwe solution powers Plett shopping centre

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In 2020, the roof of the Market Square Shopping Centre in Plettenberg Bay was covered by an impressive array of solar panels. These, as well as the accompanying inverters, were supplied by Rubicon.

BrightBlack Energy, a longstanding client of Rubicon’s, approached Rubicon to supply a solar energy solution for the Emira Property Fund’s strip mall.

The client’s requirements

BrightBlack had already determined that the shopping centre required solar panels and inverters capable of generating 600kW of power. Rubicon Energy’s Ryan Janse van Rensburg said that based on BrightBlack’s needs, they chose the most suitable and cost-effective solar panels and inverters from Rubicon’s offering.

The solution

The solution Rubicon supplied included Goodwe inverters and Longi solar panels. The system has been performing impressively since its installation, easily meeting its targets.

Inverters: Rubicon supplied 10 Goodwe 60kW inverters. BrightBlack chose these because each inverter contains four MPPTs (maximum power point trackers) - allowing the inverters to track more power points within the installation than some other inverters,  improving  the yield of the solar panels. This made Goodwe the most cost-effective option, as well as providing a large amount power in a single unit “ We find that these bigger, commercial Goodwe units perform extremely well compared to other higher-cost inverter technologies,” says Janse van Rensburg.

Goodwe’s commercial inverters are ideal for large-scale roof projects such as Market Square. The technology aims to achieve a maximum efficiency of 99% to ensure long-term returns, less heat generated by the inverter and profitability for the system owner.

Warranty extension: Rubicon ensured that all the inverters and their components are covered by a warranty extension of an additional five years – covering the inverters for a full 10 years

Solar Panels: 1680 Longi 435W solar panels were used for this project. These 435 watt solar panels contain half-cut cell technology. This enables higher power output, better temperature-dependent performance, and the effect of any shading on the energy generation is less. 

Challenges

As with any project of this size, Rubicon and BrightBlack encountered some challenges. Due to logistical nightmares caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the delivery of the Longi solar panels were delayed, which meant the project had to be postponed.

However, BrightBlack CEO Niel Coetzer, commended Rubicon on how the situation was handled. “Rubicon played open cards and let us know what had happened. In the end, we got there,” said Coetzer.

Client feedback

Coetzer says he values the longstanding relationship between BrightBlack and Rubicon and was happy with the service received. He added that the Emira Property Fund was also pleased with the outcome of the project. “They’re very happy. It’s performing well and was signed off by the council. Everything was done as it should be.”

The future

Rubicon has confirmed its involvement with three more BrightBlack projects for 2021 ranging from 200kW to 1MW.

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