The Romano Group – a sustainable solutions provider that started business in 1952 and has evolved into one of the most experienced solar photovoltaic (PV) systems integrators in Africa, has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 360 kilowatts peak (kWp) PV system to be installed on the roof of Eskom’s Megawatt Head Office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Eskom is the country’s electricity public utility company, is the largest producer of electricity in Africa, and is among the top seven utilities in the world in terms of generation capacity.
“We are very proud to be involved with this prestigious project, which we understand was awarded on the basis of our technical capability and track record, as well as the cost-effectiveness of our offer. This will push our installed capacity of rooftop PV projects to more than a megawatt, which is not too bad as South Africa’s PV industry is still in its infancy” says Alexi Romano (Romano Group CEO).
So far in 2013, Romano has commissioned four rooftop PV projects in South Africa: in Cape Town 300kWp and 10kWp, and in Johannesburg 35kWp and 10kWp. The company employs more than 150 people, and designs, procures, constructs, commissions and maintains PV systems for clients using its own in-house engineering design, project management and installation resources.
Most of the Solar PV systems provided by Romano are grid-tied systems, meaning that they are connected to either the client side or the utility side of the on-site electrical sub-station. In the former case, the electricity generated is used on the site by the client. In the latter case the electricity generated is exported to the national or municipal electricity grid. Romano’s value-added offer includes the design, manufacture and installation of Solar PV systems to commercial clients spread throughout Africa.
Alexi Romano is also the chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (SAPVIA) Rooftop PV sub-committee, whose purpose and aims are: to create a sustainable rooftop PV industry that benefits all South Africans; promote an ethical, sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry; set standards for the industry; influence government and municipalities to support the industry; and finally to create awareness in the market of the benefits of own-use PV.
“South Africa is among the highest carbon polluters in the world and yet the country has one of the richest solar resources. Investing in proven solar PV technology is both beneficial to the environment and a great hedge against rapidly rising electricity tariffs. A Solar PV system sized to a client’s daytime electricity load will typically achieve a payback of between 4 and 6 years – after which period the electricity generated by the system is free, and because Solar PV systems are designed to have a serviceable life of at least 25 years, this translates to a massive reduction in your future electricity costs.” Romano concluded.