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Feb 24, 2011

Reunert enters renewable energy business

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Electronics and electrical engineering company Reunert has entered the renewable energy arena in South Africa and would offer project management solutions to Eskom and independent power producers (IPPs) looking to build renewable energy plants.

Under the auspices of Reunert subsidiary Reutech Solutions, Reutech Renewables has completed a 35 kWh solar installation at its Midrand premises, in order to research, monitor and evaluate different systems.

The installation consists of 102 roof mounted fixed position photovoltaic (PV) panels, and two concentrated PV (CPV) tracking systems.

One of the CPV systems was from Spain-based manufacturer SolFocus, and the other, was manufactured by Germany-based Concentrix Solar.

The CPV tracking systems use high efficiency panels to focus sunlight, and are equipped with bi-axial tracking capability, which tracks the sun within an accuracy of 0,1º.

The installation has a remote monitoring and control system, where energy produced can be observed, and carbon dioxide emission savings can be calculated, for example.

“We are not tied to specific vendors and have the flexibility to offer individual end-to-end solutions. We can also draw of the experience of other divisions in the Reunert group,” explained Reutech COO Peter van der Bijl.

Reunert has electrical engineering expertise in the telecommunications infrastructure, defence and allied electronics industries. As the company gets more involved in the renewable energy sector, and more projects are initiated in South Africa, Van der Bijl said that local production of certain components would make sense.

Reunert already has in-house capacity to produce cables, switchgear and the steelwork, which forms part of solar installations. Reutech Radar Systems was also already developing a tracker system for CPV installations.

Reutech Solutions Business Development Manager Llewellyn Hartnick explained that moving into the energy sector was a new venture for the company, but it was “up for the challenge” and had the sound financial backing of the Reunert group.

He added that Reutech had long-established capabilities in design and engineering, construction and installation, project management, equipment and accessories supply, and maintenance.

The company also had experience with environmental impact assessments (EIAs), which have been said to be one of the major bottlenecks in the roll-out of renewable energy projects.

The company had teams working on EIAs and related site acquisition and establishment.
 

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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