Make hay while the sun shines

Make hay while the sun shines

As part of its plan to become an environmentally conscious brand, Kia Motors South Africa (KMSA) has scored a first in the local automotive industry with the opening of its new, eco-friendly solar-powered dealership in Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg.

This 3 620 m2 facility took just on a year to complete. Construction started in January 2012 and the official opening was held on 19 February 2013.

The facility is powered by 288 roof-mounted solar panels, creating a daily maximum of 69 kW of power – enough to power roughly 22 households per day. The energy generated by these panels is split between three converters, providing three-phase electricity at a capacity of 50 hertz and 240 volts.

This electricity then goes directly into the load as required, and if the supply exceeds the demand the remaining electricity is stored in three state-of-the-art battery banks. These units serve as a back-up system should the load be affected by a power outage, or bad weather conditions, creating enough electricity to power the entire dealership for up to 12 hours.

In line with its environmental policy, low wattage luminaires (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps) are used in all major areas of the dealership, and provide the same light as a 400 watt lamp at reduced energy consumption. Occupancy sensors have also been installed in most areas of the building, which switch off automatically after a few minutes if no movement is detected.

The second main contributor to the eco-friendliness of this dealership is its ability to recycle water though its modern filtration system. Rainwater, collected from the facility’s roof, is distributed into six 10 000 litre containers and then pumped into the carwash bay for use. Afterwards it gets pumped into the water filtration system, where oil, soap and dirt are removed. This purified water is then pumped back into the containers to be re-used in the carwash bay.

David Sieff, national marketing manager for KMSA says, “At Kia we have shifted to the next level. Not only do we offer consumers a competitive value proposition with our re-designed and re-engineered products, but ventures like our new eco-friendly solar-powered dealership have given us the platform to become leaders in the industry.”

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