If you have grown tired of the load shedding, you are not alone. South Africans struggle to keep to their daily routines, both at work and home because of the regular electricity supply interruptions, of which some are unscheduled. A home solar power system is the solution to counter the effects of such electricity supply interruptions. Reducing reliance on Eskom helps to keep productivity up and household schedules in place.
Of course, the initial costs associated with solar energy installation, may have hindered you up to now. Fortunately, finance options are available, putting home solar power systems in reach of the average South African family.
Basics of the home solar power system
The home solar installation includes the required photovoltaic or PV solar panels. These panels are placed at the correct space to get the best angle and exposure to sunlight. The panels also convert the energy from the sun to direct current, and thus usable electricity. The inverter in the system is used for converting the direct to alternate current. The power is stored in batteries, connected to the house mains from where the electricity is distributed throughout the house to the relevant supply points.
For the basic home solar power installation you thus need:
Connection to the mains
With a sufficient system, your home can even be completely off the conventional electricity supply grid.
What does it cost?
The home system requirement is directly related to the amount of power used monthly. The average small family dwelling requires about 2kW of electricity in 24 hours. To cover all the electricity supply needs of such a home, the cost comes to between R60 000 and R70 000. For a larger family home, you will need a 5kW system, able to provide in the electricity supply needs of a 250 m2 house. The cost of the system is between R105 000 and R120 000.
To determine the initial cost of a home solar power system installation, compare your monthly electricity bill with the information supplied below. Keep in mind that the information refers only to the electricity supply part of the utility bill and serves only as a guideline:
Monthly bill below R1 300 means a 2kW usage rate per day equals a cost of between R60 000 and R70 000.
Monthly bill of R1 400 to R2 200 means a 3kW usage rate per day equals a cost of R73 000 to R80 000.
For a 5kW usage rate you look at R2 300 to R5 100 on electricity expenditure monthly. A system to handle 5kW daily costs R105 000 to R115 000.
If you pay more than R5 200 monthly, your electricity usage rate is above 5kW. For a system to handle up to 10kW daily you look at a cost of R185 000 to R190 000.
When considering cost aspects of the system, keep in mind that the panels make up only one part of the system. The batteries must have sufficient capacity for the electricity needs even without the energy supplied by the solar panels. For such, the panels must be sufficient to generate enough energy that can be stored in addition to the power you use. At night, the entire system must run on the stored energy. To this end, your lifestyle needs will determine the configuration, number of panels and batteries needed.
How feasible is such a solution, considering the costs?
Feasibility of the solution also depends on the energy usage. If you currently pay R 2 000 to R2 300 on electricity and thus need a solution to power on average 5kW daily usage for complete off-grid energy, you look at a capital layout of between R105 000 and R120 000 once off.
If you don’t have the capital available, it may seem like a far-off dream. Fortunately, finance options are available to help you make the switch from Eskom to off-grid power supply. To calculate feasibility, consider that it will take you 48 months to pay off the amount.
Take R110 000/48 = R2 292 per month. You currently pay between R2 000 and R 2 300 for electricity, but have to deal with load shedding, power surges and unscheduled outages. Price increases must also be factored in for the next three years.
Upon completing payment for the system, you will save the R36 000 per annum that you would have paid towards Eskom for electricity supply per year (without rates increases). However, keep in mind that batteries must be replaced over time and the system must be maintained. You look at around R10 000 a year at that stage. As such, the effective savings will be in the vicinity of R25 000 – R27 000 per year.
We make it at as affordable as possible to switch from Eskom to off-grid power supply. As alternative, install a backup solution, also available from us. Get in touch for more information on the cost of a home solar power system and finance options to maintain your lifestyle with ongoing and reliable energy supply.