Cape Town company making great strides in solar lighting

The dreaded term "load -shedding" is soon to become part of our daily lives again. It has become a necessary tool to keep the grid operational while electricity demand exceeds Eskom's ability to generate and supply.

But we also have a problem in South Africa where cable theft is commonplace, and as a preventive measure, street lights in some areas are left on all day to keep the electricity cables live, in order to deter cable thieves, as the cost of keeping the lights on is less than the cost of replacing the stolen cables.

But it is a visible waste of electricity in a time when everyone has been asked to cut back on electricity usage, and a caller to the Breakfast Show with Kieno Kammies asked whether solar-powered street lights would not be the solution.

After an investigation by our producers, we tracked down a Cape Town-based company that specialises in solar-powered lighting solutions - miSolar.

Their solar lights are manufactured and assembled in Cape Town, and designed to suit the harsh African environment. Owner and director Greg Walton says that they used to import their light units from China in the past, but made a decision two years ago to make them locally, and using as many local components as possible.

They supply solar street lights to a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the DRC, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. All of them have been private deals, but they are in discussions with the government for a pilot project in Zanzibar.

Their lights are used to illuminate the properties of large mines, commercial parking lots and body corporate parking areas. They also have smaller units for domestic purposes.

While one might assume that the cost for such technology would be a negative factor, Walton reminds us that the installation of traditional street lights have the added cost of laying down a network of cables, and also have ongoing electricity costs, whereas solar street lighting systems are all independent.

Walton says there is a slow take-up in South Africa because it is still so easy to get connected to the grid.

One of their newer design features is to allow the lamps to burn less intently in certain hours, so that they can be switched on for longer on a single charge.

Listen to Kieno Kammies' interview with Greg Walton below:


Read More
'Accounting irregularities for who? Fraud is what it is, Steinhoff!'

'Accounting irregularities for who? Fraud is what it is, Steinhoff!'

Financial Mail Deputy Editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the directors of Steinhoff need to come clean and call a spade a spade.

Diversity in sports: Women in male dominated fields

Diversity in sports: Women in male dominated fields

John Maytham speaks to a female rugby reporter about the challenges she is facing in an industry dominated by men.

Helen Suzman Foundation explains legal challenge to Eskom contracts

Helen Suzman Foundation explains legal challenge to Eskom contracts

Helen Suzman and Sygnia will ask the court to set aside contracts they believe to be unlawful and corrupt in Eskom.

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

Connor Weber, fell unnoticed into a bin of water and drowned.

ISS on Russian influence on ANC and could a Cyril win prevent another downgrade?

ISS on Russian influence on ANC and could a Cyril win prevent another downgrade?

Dr Jakkie Cilliers says if Cyril Ramaphosa wins the elections, he could avoid a downgrade by recalling Jacob Zuma in January.

Load shedding - what you need to do

Load shedding - what you need to do

We explain what it is, who does it and why and how you know when you will be affected.

Popular articles
Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

The DA has suspended Patricia de Lille from party activities but Eusebius McKaiser says its statement 'is clear as mud'.

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

Connor Weber, fell unnoticed into a bin of water and drowned.

Fund manager lays criminal charges against former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste

Fund manager lays criminal charges against former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Benguela Global Fund Managers Chief Investment Officer Zwelakhe Mnguni.

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

Financial Mail editor Rob Rose chats to Eusebius McKaiser about how Steinhoff became the retail giant we know, before the fall.

Zuma order to pay costs of failed legal suit, a damning indictment: Law expert

Zuma order to pay costs of failed legal suit, a damning indictment: Law expert

Law professor at Wits says the President has now been warned to consider his options very careful when playing delaying tactics.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

How businessman Max Lichaba struck gold with his jewellery company

Entrepreneur Max Lichaba built his own empire and is the CEO of Lichaba Creations and several other businesses. This is his story.