Food Consulting Services’ Route to Energy Independence

South Africa first experienced load shedding in 2007, marking the beginning of a series of power challenges for the country. For a microbiology laboratory like Food Consulting Services (FCS), an uninterrupted power supply is crucial due to the temperature sensitivity of incubators, refrigerators, and other testing equipment.

In 2007, FCS installed a 3-phase diesel generator to ensure continued power supply. This generator was invaluable during the second period of load shedding from November 2014 to February 2015. However, the challenges continued as the third period of load shedding began in early 2019. Between 2007 and 2019, electricity tariffs in South Africa increased by over 500%, while the cost of solar panels decreased by 90%.

In response to these changes, FCS investigated the use of solar panels to reduce electricity costs and decrease reliance on Eskom’s power. In 2019, a 33 kWh grid-tied rooftop solar plant with 100 solar panels was installed, capable of producing approximately 55,000 kWh of electricity per year. At that time, the price and availability of suitable battery storage were still uneconomic, necessitating continued use of the generator during load shedding.

Between 2019 and 2023, the Eskom electricity crisis significantly worsened. Concurrently, the price of battery storage decreased by 50%, making a solar-battery electricity solution cost-effective. In 2023, FCS expanded its solar capacity by installing an additional 35 solar panels on a new carport, producing an extra 19 kWh. Additionally, a 120 kWh battery with a 50 kW inverter was installed.

This new setup allows FCS to generate close to 100,000 kWh of electricity per annum, resulting in approximately 95% of its electricity coming from the sun. This transition saves an estimated 91 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, ensuring that FCS always has electricity and can provide reliable and accurate services to its clients.

By investing in solar energy and battery storage, FCS demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and energy independence. For reliable food testing and consulting services, trust Food Consulting Services to deliver top-notch results while contributing to a greener future.

Explore our comprehensive food testing services here.