Solar energy: How it all began

Solar energy sunflowersLong before civilization as we know it even existed, the sun was shining. This giant sphere of glowing gases is the heart of our solar system and is by far Earth’s most valuable source of energy for life.

The sun is abundant, it is continuous and it is free. It is no wonder then, that people have become so dependent on the energy generated by this celestial phenomenon – solar energy – as an unfailing source of light and heat.

Today, with the pervasive rise in electricity costs, many people have been looking to alternative sources of energy; and the sun is beyond question one of the greatest non-taxable sources of energy out there. But how did solar energy, as we now know it, come to be?

Solar energy – or more accurately, photovoltaic (PV) energy (solar cells) – has origins going as far back as 1876, when William Grylls Adams discovered that exposing selenium to light produced electricity.

Seventy eight years later, in 1954, three Bell Laboratories researchers by the names of Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson announced the discovery of the first silicon solar cell – a finding that proved to be a watershed moment in the history of solar energy.

Although too inefficient to be of much use, early solar cells produced enough electricity to run small electrical devices. This was lauded as one of the most significant breakthroughs ever in the history of solar energy. So much so, in fact, that the 25th of April – the day Bell Laboratories demonstrated to the world how silicon solar cells could produce electricity – is to this day celebrated as the anniversary of the first practical solar cell.

On 26 April 1954 the New York Times stated on its front page that the discovery of the first silicon solar cell marked “the beginning of a new era, eventually leading to the realisation of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams – the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilisation”.

From then onwards, solar energy grew more extensive, and gradually became a more affordable, viable option. In 1956 solar cells were commercially available – but at a whopping $300 (about R3 800 today) per 1 watt solar cell. At this stage, solar cells were only being used in small items like toys and radios – the first items to make solar energy available to consumers.

From these humble beginnings, solar energy snowballed, with solar power becoming the standard for powering space-bound satellites in the late 1960’s.

Soon after, in the early 1970’s, new methods were discovered to reduce the price to $20 (about R260 today) per watt, and off-shore oil rigs used solar cells to power up warning lights on top of rigs.

The rest, as they say, is history. From the 1970’s to the 1990’s, there was a huge change in the use of solar cells – from powering homes in remote areas, to fuelling telecommunication towers.

Today, solar energy touches almost every part of our lives and is becoming increasingly more affordable for everyday use. We use it to power up electric gate motors, to supply power to remote housing, and even to replace old windmills, which cost a fortune to repair.

African Advantages

In Africa in particular, solar energy is a huge godsend, because so many African countries see a lot of bright sunlight throughout the year. This is especially so in the dryer, often more remote areas, meaning solar power has the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa.

In terms of the distribution of solar resources across Africa, more than 85% of the continent’s landscape gets at least 2 000 kWh/(m² year).

South Africa alone is expected to reach an installed capacity of 8 400 MW by 2030, along with 8 400 MW of wind power. The amount of exposure South Africa gets to the sun’s rays by far exceeds the average values in Europe, Russia, and most of North America.

It is this great advantage that allows pbElectrical – a division of PBSA – to seize the vast opportunities our geography affords us, and to offer a range of reliable and affordable solar power products.

Solar Borehole Water Pumps

Because solar water pumps have no running costs, our solar borehole water pumps are the most cost effective way to pump water on farms.

Being a proud agent for the renowned Pumpman™ Solar Water Pump range, pbElectrical caters for all your water needs, offering a range of pumps that will pump water at different depths. Pumpman pumps are built to withstand even the harshest local weather and water conditions.

Curious to know how solar borehole water pumps work? It all starts with solar panels, which are made up of PV cells. These cells convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity throughout the day when the sun shines.

The brains of the system – the control box – is what makes everything work. This includes the monitoring of water levels in the well and water tank, as well as switching the pump on and off, ensuring the pump only pumps water when needed.

Finally, there is the water pump. This submersible pump goes into the borehole and pumps water to the water tank. The type of system you install will depend on factors such as how much water you need, the ground level, water level, etc.

About pbElectrical

pbElectrical provides electrical contracting services and products, as well as a range of add-on services, to corporates and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The division offers existing PBSA customers complementary turnkey solutions, as well as offering new clients holistic electrical and related products and services, backed by a certified ISO 9001 quality management system.

Contact:

Website: http://www.pbsa.co.za/pbelec.php

Office: 011 516 9416

Mobile: 083 462 6518 (Helgard Joubert)

Email: helgardj@pbsa.co.za

Get through winter with a quality air purifier

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Don’t let the ailments associated with the season get the better of you – create pure indoor air, breathe freely and enjoy good health this winter.

The sudden icy temperatures over the past week are proof that winter is well and truly upon us and, while many may associate allergies with the summer months, the truth is that winter is a breeding ground for the particles and germs responsible for poor health during this time.

Studies have shown that most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors in winter – if not more – and, with the cold season being the time dusty winter coats and blankets are brought out, and long-dormant heating devices powered up, indoor air quality hits an annual low.

On top of this, the chances of transmission of common winter ailments rise steeply, due to the bacteria and viruses that cause them densely populating indoor air.

In fact, if we had to really grasp the extent of allergens, particles, germs and irritants that circulate through our indoor air during the winter months, we would probably wonder how it is that we can breathe at all.

The good news is, using a high-quality air purifier can reduce – and even completely eradicate – winter allergy symptoms and significantly reduce your susceptibility for catching a cold or getting the flu.

pbOffice (a division of PBSA) offers a range of top-quality air purifiers by IDEAL, which feature all the vital components needed to turn contaminated indoor air into pure, healthy and allergen-free air – including HEPA filters and intelligent air quality sensors.

Our devices work on a six-stage AEON Blue air purification system, which filters almost 100% of the smallest particles and pathogenic germs from the polluted air before they reach your airway. Additionally, the clean air is enriched with negative ions – oxygen atoms that are charged with an extra electron (as found in nature) and are proven to have significant health benefits.

With pbOffice’s air purification solutions, you can safely say goodbye to indoor air pollutants like viruses and bacteria, pollen, animal hair, chemical fumes, dust, odours, tobacco smoke and aerosol fumes.

This winter, don’t succumb – invest in and enjoy a quality air purifier for your home and office and say goodbye to the “sick season” blues.

[REFERENCES]  

Wikipedia – HEPA

Web MD – Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes

PBSA shredders underpin POPI compliance

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shredder-generic-picThe company’s hard drive shredders offer local businesses a sure-fire way of complying with the act’s stringent data protection laws.

This year, the implementation date for the much-publicised Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act is expected to be announced, and local businesses will have a year from this date to become compliant – or face severe penalties.

Passed into South African law towards the end of 2013, the POPI Act essentially regulates how companies store and secure personal information of individuals and entities. Because the act aligns South Africa with international laws on privacy, it includes some stringent rules that businesses – no matter their size – will need to follow to a T.

Wale Arewa, CEO of Secure IT asset disposal company Xperien, says, although the POPI Act gives companies a grace period of a year from commencement to comply with its requirements, they should make it a top priority now.

“There are serious penalties [for non-compliance with the act]. Besides the possibility of prison terms and fines of up to R10 million, POPI also allows individuals to institute civil claims. This means there is the possibility of further financial loss on top of any fine that may be imposed,” warns Arewa.

Data demolition

One of the POPI Act’s key objectives is to ensure customer data is destroyed sufficiently. According to the act, user data cannot be kept for longer than necessary and will have to be completely destroyed – not merely deleted or superficially disposed of.

This means it is simply not good enough for companies to wipe or format a hard drive, nor is it sufficient to toss it out, regardless of how unlikely it may be that it will be discovered.

The only sure-fire way to destroy data, is to physically shred it – a method vouched for by international business news site Bloomberg, in an article entitled “The right way to destroy sensitive data”.

“Hard drives are fed into a machine that resembles a photocopier, which chews and spits out slivers of scrap metal,” the site explains.

pbOffice, a division of PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes South Africa), offers a failsafe solution to data destruction with two quality HSM machines – the HSM Powerline HDS230 Hard Drive Shredder and its smaller – but equally effective – counterpart, the HSM HDS150 Hard Drive Shredder.

Both fully data protection compliant, the two hard drive shredders destroy digital media devices in a safe and economical way. These safe and easy-to-use devices shred hard drives into tiny particles – ensuring absolute and irreversible destruction of all data contained on them.

Designed with longevity in mind, both hard drive shredders feature sturdy, solid steel-cutting units and powerful drives. Additionally, because the units feature high throughput capacity and energy-saving continuous operation, they are an intelligent choice for businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Visit us today to find out more, or to request a quote.

[REFERENCES]  

Bloomberg.com

Xperien.com

 

pbVerify relaunches Deeds Search tool

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deeds-tool-pbverify

PbVerify’s popular Deeds Search tool has been relaunched and is now more accurate and immediate than ever before.

The relaunch comes after the service had to be put on hold about two months ago, following modifications to the Deeds Office systems that required pbVerify to update certain regions and add new ones.

The Deeds Search tool has been greatly improved, now allowing for live lookups at the Deeds Office – something that was previously not possible. In the past, searches were not live and they were not updated monthly.

The new and improved version ensures absolutely no discrepancies come into play when clients perform the relevant searches. Because pbVerify’s Deed Searches now have direct links to the Deeds Office’s live database, clients are guaranteed the most up-to-date information available.

The pbVerify Deeds Search tool allows you to do the following searches:

  1. Deeds Person Search
  2. Deeds Company Search
  3. Deeds ERF Search
  4. Deeds Farm Search
  5. Deeds Sectional Title
  6. Deeds Document

1. Deeds Person Search

The Deeds Office Person Search provides online information from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on property ownership on a natural or juristic person at any of the 10 Deeds Offices in South Africa.

Searches are performed by providing a name or identity (ID)/registration number. Searches are available for one or multiple Deeds Offices (with a search charge applicable for each selected Deeds Office). A batch search facility is also available and can be accessed from the Deeds Office Person Search input page.

A Deeds Person search will yield the following information:

  1. Person information, which includes the natural or juristic registered name and ID or registration number (when available). It also includes the marital status of a natural person at the time of the property transaction.
  2. Property information. All properties owned by the search subject will be displayed, including Deeds Office property description, LPI code (the unique Surveyor General code for the property, used mainly for mapping purposes), title deed number, microfilm reference, purchase price, sale date and registration date.
  3. Contracts. Contracts registered at the Deeds Office are detailed and include antenuptial contracts, interdicts, and notarial bonds.

2. Deeds Company search

A Deeds Company search will return the following information:

  1. Property information. The property information returned includes the complete Deeds Office description, LPI code, extent, diagram deed number and local authority.
  2. Ownership details (individual and juristic with ID or registration number). These include the percentage of ownership for multiple owners. Also included are the title deed document number, purchase price, purchase date and registration date.
  3. Endorsements. Deeds Office endorsements include interdicts, subdivisions, consolidations and bond details.
  4. Historical ownership of the property is noted, including the owner name, purchase price (when available) and title deed document details.

3. Deeds Erf search

pbVerify can convert any erf number into a street address for you – all you need to do is enter the official property description from the Deeds Office (erf or sectional scheme).

How to perform a Street to Erf Conversion:

  1. Select ‘Erf to Street Conversion’ from the ‘Property’ offering on the search Menu.
  2. Supply required search criteria and select ‘Proceed’. WinDeed will return a list of results that matched the criteria provided.
  3. Locate the property in the list and select ‘Search’ to perform a search.

4. Deeds Farm search

pbVerify is able to search for any farm in in South Africa by using the following search criteria:

• Farm name
• Farm number
• Portion
• Registration division

The results you will get from a Deeds Farm search include:

1. Property information.
2. Ownership information.
3. Bond information.
4. Historic document.

5. Deeds Sectional Title

pbVerify can search for any Sectional Title in South Africa by using the following search criteria:

• Scheme prefix
• Sectional title name
• Sectional scheme number
• Unit number

Search results return the following information:

1. Ownership information.
2. Sectional information.
3. Scheme details.
4. Purchase date.
5. Title deed number.

6. Deeds Document

Several kinds of documents are registered at the Deeds Office, including title deeds, bond documents, antenuptial agreements and interdicts. Searching by document number at the appropriate Deeds Office will give you the details of that document and the option to request a document copy.

pbVerify’s new revamped Deeds Search tool is easy to use, accurate, fast and free to register for. You only pay per search and there are no monthly subscription fees or registration costs whatsoever.

As soon as you’ve signed up, you will be able to instantly search for any deeds information you may require through our user-friendly web interface.

Click here for all your Deeds product pricing.

PBSA reaches out to furry friends

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spca-tersia-kingLeading customer communications firm PBSA has once again reached out to animals in need by contributing to a charity drive led by Tersia King Learning Academy.

The primary school, located in the East Rand’s Tembisa township, runs an annual SPCA fundraiser aimed at giving some of South Africa’s furry friends a second chance at life.

“We use community service to try and teach our learners the meaning of Ubuntu,” says Tersia King principal, Rachelle Bezuidenhout.

All 38 teachers and 859 learners are chipping in to collect pet food in the form of cans, packs and treats. Having started in September, the fundraiser will conclude this Friday, 4 November, when the class that collects the most pet food will be announced.

Bezuidenhout says the school hopes to receive at least one can of food per child and has also been receiving donations towards the cause. The winning class will be treated to a class party and a movie.

She thanked PBSA for its financial contribution, adding that some of the money would be spent on the winning class, and some would go towards the SPCA fund itself.

“We aim to make it a memorable day for [the winning class], as [PBSA] made a memorable contribution towards us. Thank you for helping us in making it possible for our furry friends to have a few more bites to eat.”

PBSA MD Michael Springer says it is important children learn to have empathy for animals, many of which are dependent on humans.

In November last year, PBSA took part in Husky Rescue South Africa’s first sleepathon, helping the non-profit organisation raise over R55 000 for its cause – the rescue and rehabilitation of Nordic breeds of dogs.

Tersia King Learning Academy is involved in a number of other charity initiatives, including Cupcakes for Cancer and “Gogolicious Day” – a project that involves the collection of scarves for the Tembisa Children’s Home and Old Age Home.

“With all the anger around them, our young ones grow up with hate and violence, not love and tolerance. With all our charity drives, we try to instill a sense of empathy in our children, especially towards those more vulnerable than they themselves are,” says Bezuidenhout.

Tackling security in an IoT world

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eepublishersPublished by EE Publishers on 20 September 2016

The internet of things is here – and it is bigger than we could have imagined – is your business ready?

The internet of things (IoT) is undeniably one of this century’s biggest phenomena in terms of ubiquitous impact and, while the implications associated with this technological wave are varied, one of the most crucial – if not the most crucial of these – centres around security.

Type the words “IoT and…” into your Google search engine bar, and one of the first phrases that comes up in the dropdown menu is “IoT and security”, says Leon van der Merwe, head of digital at customer communications firm PBSA. Security is a huge concern for businesses when it comes to this emerging network of connected things. Even with the strides made in cultivating a secure internet, this vast entity is just not 100% secure.

By nature, he says, the internet is arguably impossible to fully secure – and is becoming considerably more complex as the human race starts connecting everyday hardware devices. “We are basically building an internet of any and everything.”

And, contrary to common belief, South Africa is not playing catch-up to such an extent that local businesses need not be concerned. The IoT may not be as mainstream in South Africa as it is in other, developed countries, but it is fast heading that way. Any business that even remotely values its security would be making a grave mistake by not heeding the red flags inherent in the IoT.

In fact, according to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report – The Internet of Things in Africa – the market for connected devices in the country will account for $2-billion of the global total value ($1,7-trillion) by 2020. As for the continent as a whole, the research firm says Africa is likely to house around one billion connected devices by the turn of the decade.

A 2015 survey revealed that 33% of South African enterprises are planning major and/or significant investment in IoT over the next three years.

Unprecedented power

We know the IoT is set to explode – globally and on our own doorstep – but we must also consider, when taking security measures, the immense power this thing denoting a connected future holds.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) designates the IoT part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – an era of technological advancement characterised by ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, says the possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited.

These possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the IoT, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

Given the enormous impact the IoT will have on businesses’ security, Van der Merwe believes local companies need to take security far more seriously. Many of the larger, security-conscious organisations take their security very seriously, but they don’t necessarily have the right strategies in place. When it comes to the so-called midstream businesses in South Africa, these generally have very poorly managed security policies, if any.

Access management

But where does one start when it comes to tackling this giant, looming phenomenon? At ground level, at one of the very core aspects of your connected devices – accessibility.

One of the products PBSA’s software arm, pbDigital, advocates is identity and access management (IAM). IAM outsources all require security requirements to run on the latest international identity and access management on one centralised solution.

Contact Leon van der Merwe, PBSA, Tel 011 516-9459, leon@pbsa.co.za