South Africans are growing increasingly frustrated with Eskom’s inability to supply us with enough electricity. Power cuts seem to occur during the most inconvenient times and we’re all wondering how and when things will improve. The fact is, solar energy is the best existing answer to this dilemma. Not only is solar energy unlimited, but it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper every year.
So let’s discuss the implications of bidding Eskom farewell and becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy. Is solar energy affordable? Is solar energy manageable? And is solar power at the point where it can offer us the same lifestyle we are used to?
Have you decided to go off the grid?
Eskom’s grid power is no longer as reliable as we remember it being ten or more years ago. The company has admitted that they are unable to supply the entire country with simultaneous power. The result? Load shedding—and no end in sight.
Fortunately, an alternative energy solution is available to South Africans. Solar energy is growing in popularity and is likely to take over many South African homes in the near future. If you’ve decided to take that step and go off Eskom’s grid, then the following information is just for you.
Understanding power prices in South Africa
Do you sometimes hesitate whether going off the grid is a good idea? These statistics should help solidify your decision.
In 2010, the cost to power your home or business with solar power was ten times more what it would cost to stay on Eskom’s grid. Today, it’s practically the same either way—but without the inconvenience of power cuts. If you add up the total cost of equipment and installation and divide that amount into the months and years of savings, you pretty much break even.
But let’s take a practical look at the future. Will Eskom’s prices continue to increase? And will solar power continue to become cheaper and more accessible? The answer to both questions is YES. If such a massive price comparison change can happen in five years, just imagine what will happen in the next two, four or ten years.
Is solar energy the future of South Africa?
From what we have seen thus far, it’s painfully obvious that solar power is the logical alternative to our power crisis. You’re not alone in coming to this conclusion either. South Africa as a country has recognized the potential of solar energy which is obvious by the following observations:
- More and more solar power suppliers are opening up in South Africa
- Electricians are becoming increasingly qualified to handle solar energy installation and repair
- Solar panel manufacturing plants are being opened in South Africa
- Multiple ‘green homes’ have been—and are being—built on a yearly basis
These facts show that South Africans are leaning fast towards sustainable energy sources. So far, solar energy is the most affordable and practical of these sources.
Sustainable energy for South African industries
South African home owners aren’t the only ones who want to switch to alternative energy sources. Company owners are also seeing the benefits of doing so. Not only will they save money on their electricity bill, but they will STOP losing money because of all the economically-damaging power cuts.
Farms are also taking the solar energy route. Many farms—especially organic farms in the Cape region—are using solar power to run their machinery. Processing food can be expensive—especially when you’re relying on UNRELIABLE power from Eskom.
Do your research
You’ve already asked whether it’s viable for solar panels to replace grid power. Now that you know that it certainly is, it’s time to ask some other important questions:
- How many panels will I need to go completely off the grid?
- How much will the initial installation cost be?
- How much will I save per year?
- Will there be any long term maintenance costs for my solar system?
- Will I get a return on my investment when I sell my property—or am I over capitalising?
So can you say goodbye to Eskom for good? The answer is a resounding, YES! But as with any big decision, you need to be sure you have covered all your bases. It’s becoming more and more obvious that solar power will become the norm in South Africa within a number of years.
So get off the grid and switch to the most logical and environmentally friendly option: Solar power! It’s an investment we are all going to make sooner or later—so why not start now?
* Informative YouTube video series teaching about solar