Getting a solar system in your house would improve its potential for being sold and would up the price. If you want to take your solar system with you when you move, perhaps rent-to-own or a subscription service would be a better option.
If you buy and own your solar system, you can make more monthly savings on electricity each month as you won’t be paying installments. However, buying a solar system is like buying a car or a cellphone: you can either pay a once-off up-front cost, or you can lease/rent the system, or you can pay it off over time. A solar subscription helps you to avoid upfront costs and takes away the stress of maintenance; while the rent-to-own option lets you to pay off the system over five to seven years.
Your municipal utilities bill is an easy way to check how much electricity you use each month beyond just how much you pay. To give you a rough idea, the average South African home uses about 2 000 kilowatt-hours (kw/h) per month.
In theory, yes. In practice… [insert Hippo warning grunt here]. Just because you can go off the grid with a solar energy system that includes battery storage, doesn’t mean you should. Relying entirely on solar power leaves you relying on clear skies and long, sunny days, which is why – for the time being, and while the technology develops – off-grid living is really only recommended for properties that don’t have any access to the grid at all.
Solar energy systems have a long lifespan of between 25 and 35 years. It’s costly to remove and reinstall solar panels, so if your roof does need maintenance, it’s best to take care of that before installation.
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. However, if you add batteries to your system, at night you can utilise excess power produced during the day.
You’d think so… but if you have a grid-tied solar PV system it will likely be programmed to switch off during load shedding. Reason being, if Eskom’s maintenance crews are working on the lines when the grid is down, your solar power system could put their lives at risk. However, if you have a solar battery system installed you can create your own “microgrid” at home. This will keep your power going during blackouts, and will keep the Eskom crews safe.
You can feed this extra energy back into the power grid and get paid for it with feed-in tariffs or reverse feed tariffs. This is called ‘net metering’ and is not offered by all municipalities in South Africa. In order to do this, your solar system needs to have a bi-directional meter to transfer electricity to the grid. Currently, you can bank 72 cents for every kilowatt hour.
You will need to apply for interconnection, which would involve an inspection and an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) being issued by the partner installer. Also, permits must be approved by your municipality or Eskom before the application can be approved.