South Africa is Migrating to solar energy

NCE Staff Writer
NCE Staff Writter / June 29, 2021 - 16:15
3 min read––– views
Roof mounted solar panel array

With load-shedding becoming common place across the Country, South Africans are getting tired of begging and waiting for Eskom to fix their power generation and distribution problems. The constant frustration and anxiety of the thought of your family sleeping in the dark; your food being unrefreidgerated for several hours a day; or not having hot water to bathe or shower in there morning before heading out for school or work is causing South Africans to look at off-grid energy solutions for their homes. The biggest, most affordable solution currently is solar and recent online market activity is showing just how huge the demand for alternative energy is. On the biggest weekly bidding events on BidOrBuy (Crazy Wednesdays, Snap Fridays, and Weekend Specials) are dominated with solar energy equipment: panels, inverters, solar-powered flood lights, solar energy storage batteries. Takealot is no exception as their electronics frontpage is filled with solar equipment that is always selling out.

Solar equipment being the majority listing on BidOrBuy

So, other than the obvious benefit of no more planned power outages, why are South Africans so willing to adopt solar energy? If you need any more convincing here is another big positivie to adopting solar energy in your home or business: (1) in the long-term it is cheaper to completely rely on a solar system instead of the national power grid. This is particularly true considering how the price of electricity for households has increased by more than 150% in the last decade (2010-2020). And after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) agreed to Eskom's request for a price hike/increase in April 2021 it is going to cost even more to be dependent on Eskom. Other than changing your solar batteries on a bi-annual basis (once every two years on average), solar panels and inverters are rigorous so they can last over a decade without needing any replacement.

Graph of RSA electricity prices over the years

But it's not a fault-free transition from depending on the national grid to depending on your own solar energy system. As of April 2021 Eskom is planning a pricing policy that will charge households a nominal monthly or annual fee for leaving the national power grid and using solely solar power. Additionally, the cheaper end of solar equipment (which most South Africans will opt for because of personal finance constraints) may break down frequently and this, coupled by a shortage of solar power technicians in the country, will explode the costs of living off-grid. However, with a little research you can find quality solar power technicians and companies (Native Circuit Elements included).

So, what's next if you're ready to join the exodus away from Eskom and their load-shedding schedule? It is advisable to get in contact with your nearest solar power provider (a quick Google search can yield useful results). Experts will take your specific situation into consideration before suggesting the best solar power arrangement for you. You may find that it is more affordabl to use a solar back-up system than being completely off-grid, and vice-versa.

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