St Francis Of Assisi, Parkview Goes Solar

Report on Installation of a PV System at the Church in 2019

The system

The parish ECO group has since 2014 been investigating the feasibility and cost of installing a PV system at the St Francis premises to save electricity and related costs, and contribute to a cleaner environment. The initiative was led by Peter Middleton. The first proposal to Council was in 2015 and further investigations and alternative quotes were obtained due to advancements in the technology.

In late 2018 a final proposal was submitted to Council for approval. Council accepted this in principle, subject to the required funding being raised. In early 2019 a final proposal was issued to parishioners appealing for funding. Sufficient funds were raised by September 2019 and the system was installed and commenced functioning in early November. The total cost was R136 000.

The panels are installed on the roof of the Sunday School room. See picture 1 below. Picture 2 shows the face of the 2 batteries, which are contained in the black box in picture 3, situated in the office.

Electricity generated by the system is measured and recorded daily.

The rewards

The solar system will produce 15 kWh of ‘free’ electricity per sunny day, which will reduce our usage by about 33% and will save the parish approximately R8 500/year (at a present unit charge of R1.50). With the likely increases in electricity costs over the coming years, the return on the investment will improve further.

More importantly, every kWh saved prevents 0.95 kg of CO2 from entering the environment where it will accelerate global warming. That means that our real contribution to saving our planet will be over 8 000 kg (8 tons) less CO2 in our atmosphere: every year!

With continuing load shedding from Eskom a reality, St Francis will not be solely dependant on Eskom and will not experience the disruptions caused by the sudden switching off of electricity.  In addition, the security of our parishioners at night will not be compromised as security lights and cameras will continue to work.

By introducing the PV System, St Francis is the first parish in the Diocese to initiate such a project and as such  provides a model for other parishes to follow.

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