Thaba Eco Hotel,
South Africa

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Project type: Off-grid, greenfield
Technology: Mini-grid with battery storage
Capacity: 180kMh
Camco involvement: Finance

Project summary

Blackouts have become a regular occurrence in South Africa, affecting the productivity of many businesses. For one Johannesburg hotel the problem prompted the installation of a solar-supported hybrid energy storage solution, which has led to multiple benefits.

The 180kWh system at Thaba Eco Hotel is the brainchild of RedT, a UK-based manufacturer of innovative energy storage solutions and a partner of Camco. It uses a vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB), which works in conjunction with a 100kW solar PV array and the hotel’s existing diesel generator to provide a reliable, round-the-clock electricity supply.

The installation was made possible after Camco developed the project and structured the financing by securing a $429,152 funding facility from the Energy and Environmental Partnership initiative, which is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Austrian Development Agency and the UK’s Department for International Development.

Operational since April 2018, the system is expected to provide the hotel with up to 175MWh of power annually – power that would otherwise have been generated by back-up gensets or supplied by the grid.

Over the estimated 20-year lifespan of Thaba’s hybrid energy storage system, this equates to a considerable saving on diesel purchases, generator maintenance and power purchases from the grid, a portion of which the hotel has pledged to donate to a charity which helps the local community.

The project will also demonstrate the system’s arbitrage capability, to optimise the “time of use” pricing in South Africa for small commercial facilities.

“Energy storage coupled with PV allows us to receive a stable supply of power to provide essential services to our guests who trust us to deliver special experiences. A secure power supply is key to us given the unreliable grid supply and recent load shedding experienced in South Africa.”

– Rueben Louw, CEO,
Thaba Eco Hotel