Bidvest Laundry Group has led the field in total laundry solutions in South Africa for more than 35 years. It offers factories, mines, hotels and hospitals a comprehensive laundry service tailored to their exact requirements. As an ISO 9001 accredited operation, quality, consistency and reliability are hallmarks of the service it provides.
Along with its ISO quality management listing, Bidvest Laundry Group only utilises top of the range SABS-approved chemicals. Additionally, it views the protection of the environment as an essential element of the way its laundries run. To this end, it has introduced various green policies such as water recycling and fuel and chemical efficiencies while working toward reduced electricity consumption.
This keen focus on the “Green economy” is what led the group to the commission, devise and install a solar photovoltaic system at its laundry in Spartan, near Johannesburg. Spurred on by the increase in electricity prices over the past three years and by the desire to reduce the carbon footprint of the Spartan laundry, Bidvest decided to develop a Green Energy solution.
The laundry consumes just over two Giga Watt hours of power per annum and Bidvest was determined to reduce this power appetite. But how? Electech Renewable Solutions, a division of Voltex, stepped up to the mark and together with Sunworx designed and engineered a grid-tied roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panel system to harvest the freely available energy from the sun. This uniquely designed system has proved a perfect fit for reducing the high annual power costs of an energy-intensive plant. The laundry’s large roof area was ideal for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) cells and, what’s more, Bidvest could offset carbon dioxide credits against using coal-fired boilers. This green energy solution generates electricity via solar photovoltaic panels which are connected through string boxes bringing Direct Current (DC) electrical output produced by the solar panels to Inverters. These convert the output to Alternating Current (AC) which is then used to operate the laundry.
In the Spartan project, a total of 1440 Jinko solar panels rated at 325 Watts each were connected via 720 Solaredge PV Optimisers FEEDING 16 grid-tied Solar Edge Inverters. The roof mounting structure was provided by Schletter and the balance of the equipment came entirely from the Voltex Group. The Spartan solar system has a predicted operational life of at least 25 years with an expected payback period for the capital investment under 6 years.
A major advantage of the equipment supplied to the Spartan site by Electech Renewable Solutions is that the Solaredge Optimisers increase PV panel performance plus monitoring down to panel level can troubleshoot for ease of plant maintenance. The Bidvest Spartan Laundry solar system will generate over 730 Megawatt-Hours of electricity per annum and reduce CO? emissions by 730 tons each year – all this on a system with an expected life of 25 years.
The design and installation by Electech Renewable Solutions and Sunworx have paved the way for the Bidvest Group to install similar solar systems at its properties across South Africa, where appropriate. In addition, installing solar power will reward the company with immediate energy-saving and carbon-emission credits while economies of scale and technology enhancements will decrease group capital expenditure and operational costs.
The laundry at Spartan is but the first in many green energy projects that Bidvest plans to undertake to harness energy from the African sun.