A Bright Future for First Car Rental
First Car Rental continues to reduce its carbon footprint with the installation of a solar power plant.
February 2017 - First Car Rental has installed its first solar power plant at First Car Rental Pomona, cementing its continued commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
The solar power plant is located across three large rooftops containing 415 photovoltaic (PV) panels (of 320 Watts ea) at the Pomona branch, which will produce on average 226.8 MWh of electricity per annum.
The installation company, SolarXgen, started building the solar power plant in November 2016 and took three weeks to complete the project. Guaranteed for 25-yrs, SolarXgen will additionally maintain the solar system for First Car Rental.
Grid-Tied Solar System
In a grid-tied system, the solar power plant is linked to the utility power grid. This system does not store power as all the power generated from the PV system at First Car Rental is used on-site.
The solar power plant is linked to the power mains via an inverter and offsets the power normally consumed from the utility company.
The solar power plant at First Car Rental Pomona continuously runs in tandem with the utility power grid. During the day, when the solar system outputs power, it becomes the primary provider and the utility is secondary.
Says Wayne de Jager, Executive Director and co-founder of SolarXgen (South Africa),
"The solar power system is monitored via Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) control system and a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).
These systems allow remote monitoring and reporting. Our management system is able to match PV output to the building's energy demand, ensuring optimally timed consumption."
Along with the solar power plant, a Diesel Genset was also installed. The generator functions as the secondary power provider if the utility power shuts down.
The generator in the First Car Rental solar power system starts up shortly after the power goes down. The PV plant synchronises with the Diesel Genset and automatically powers up, providing full capacity from the solar power system whilst reducing the output from the diesel generator.
As electricity costs continue to rise, solar power is becoming a more viable and cost-effective solution. The installation of the solar power plant at First Car Rental Pomona will elicit an average monthly saving of 52.9% on electricity.
The above chart indicates First Car Rental Pomona's utility power consumption (green), as well as the shaved municipal electricity consumprion (orange), after solar.
The expected gross savings on electricity over the 25-year life span of the solar power plant equates to R28million.
The use of solar power is in line with First Car Rental's decade-long commitment to clean energy and sustainability.
Over the guaranteed portion of the plant's lifetime, First Car Rental will be reducing its carbon footprint by 4964 tons of CO2.
Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head: Strategy, Development & Marketing at First Car Rental,
"Over the years, First Car Rental has initiated many environmentally-friendly projects that still exist today. These include, but are not limited to, various energy and water-saving initiatives, saving tens of thousands of litres of water and reducing our carbon emissions by 44 tons per annum.
We also introduced electronic vouchers and online invoice retrieval, and our Customer Services division is a paperless environment, and not to mention our corporate Show&Go mobile checkout is a green initiative.
Renewable energy is critical to our continued fight against climate change. Harnessing solar energy for power generation is a feasible clean energy source. The solar power plant ensures that First Car Rental Pomona can become self-sustainable regarding its power needs and reduces reliance on the national grid.
This installation and our many successful and ongoing green initiatives demonstrate to staff, and to our current and future customers, that we are 'all in' when it comes to reducing our environmental impact."
Watch the video below to see the installation of the First Car Rental Pomona solar power system.
For more news on First Car Rental, visit our News page.