Benefits Of Solar Power For Your Home
Reduce your reliance on the national grid.
Reduce your overall electricity costs.
Have a reliable system to power your home or business.
Short answer? Energy from the Sun is gathered via solar panels and converted into electricity through an inverter that connects to your home’s power system.
The longer answer is that solar power works when the Sun is shining, which is why a completely off-grid solution is not (yet) viable for most households. Overcast weather (or, y’know, night-time) can limit the amount of solar energy available, which is why some folks recommend installing a solar battery to store the energy gathered on clear, sunny days. Solar batteries can be used like an uninterrupted power solution (UPS), where they store solar power to keep specific/important appliances running when the grid fails.
And while it’s not an option yet, there are regulations in the works that will let you store solar power and (via a bi-directional meter) feed that back into your local grid in the future.
The obvious answer is three words: load shedding. (We know that’s just two words, but we’re too polite to publish the third.) But there’s far more to solar power than just securing some degree of energy independence. Having your own solar system will also help you save on your electricity bills now and in the future; and will increase the resale value of your property.
Other benefits include:
Get more information on the advantages of using solar energy .
Your municipal 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. Unless you are completely off the grid, it would still be included on your utility bill, but the amount should be a lot less than you paid before.
Currently, there are three ways to get a solar energy system in South Africa.
One option is to buy it upfront using cash or other funding. If you can’t afford a once-off up-front purchase, you can opt for a rent-to-own agreement or sign up for a solar subscription, both of which would allow you to still get the benefits of solar power.
Rent-to-own solar system
This option allows you to buy the solar energy system over a five- to seven-year period by having it installed and then making monthly payments to a solar company. The company would also take care of the system’s maintenance during that period. Another advantage of rent-to-own is that the money you save on your municipal power bill can go towards paying that rental.
Solar subscription service
Solar subscription, also called solar as a service, give you access to solar power without you owning the panels. This could be an option for renters (with permission from the landlord, of course!) or for homeowners who are looking to test it out or who can’t afford a permanent installation.
Step 1: Check your utilities bill to see how much electricity you use each month.
Step 2: Compare based on your usage to choose the best package for your needs and budget.
Step 3: Submit a query to receive a quote and decide on the best one.
Step 4: Schedule your free site inspection for exact measurements and confirm if set-up is possible.
Step 5: If everything is all good, you’ll receive an invoice to make a deposit.
Step 6: Then it’s just up to finding a convenient time for an installation team to come.
The installation period can be between one and twelve weeks, depending on what’s needed for the system.
To get the most out of your solar system, location and placement of the panels is key.
It’s best to have the panels at a slight angle facing either north (because we’re in the Southern Hemisphere) or a combination of east and west on your roof.
While this will probably mean that the panels will be visible to you and your neighbours, it will produce the best results in South Africa.
Your solar provider will make an application to your municipality or Eskom to get permission to connect your system to the grid. This is an absolute must if you want to have a working system.
To get approval on those permits, an inspection will be completed and your installer would need to get an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC). This process can take up to two weeks.
You’ll need to update your Building Insurance, and you can expect an increase in premiums once the system is included. However, the savings you’ll make from installing solar may help balance the increase in insurance costs.