Electricity is fast becoming a luxury item for many homes in South Africa. Everyone is tightening their belts to make their budgets work. One of the ways to do this is by investigating and investing in innovative ventures like solar power for your home.
To help you work out if this renewable energy source is right for you, we’ve got the low down on the different kinds of solar products available, including the costs, the installation, and the benefits.
The benefits of solar power in your home
Let’s start with the benefits. According to research, you can save up to 60% on your electricity bill from the first day. That’s literally 1000s of rands over the years which could go towards your dream vacation, house renovations, education fees, or anything else that your heart desires.
Solar technology also adds value to your property, significantly decreases your carbon footprint, and requires very little maintenance. So it’s a big win on all fronts.
The 3 types of systems and their costs
1. The off-grid system
The off-grid system costs around R250,000 for a home that uses 10kW/h per day. It uses a battery inverter and batteries to replace the national power grid with your own grid. This allows solar power to go into your system, with some power to be used and some to be stored. A back-up power supply is also connected and used to charge the batteries when there isn’t enough sun, and the large battery storage capacity gives you a 2-day supply, so during foul weather you won’t left in the dark.
2. The grid-tied system
The grid-tied system costs around R50,000 for a 1.5kW system, which includes installation and is the cheapest and most cost effective solar PV system. This system generates some of your electricity, so you use what you can and buy what you need. You can even sell the leftovers and put it aside from when you need to buy.
3. The grid-tied system with a battery back-up
If you opt for the grid-tied system with a battery back-up, then this cost increases to around R85,000 for a 1.5kW system and it also includes installation. You can add a battery back-up to a grid-tied system so that you’ll have power during load shedding and further increase your savings by using electricity that’s generated, even when the sun isn’t available.
Looking at the installation
South Africa has 1 of the world’s highest levels of solar radiation, which is used to generate either heat or electricity, it’s worth investigating the solar route. That said, research shows that you could pay off the installation costs within just 3 years. While this is a major investment and the installation process is complicated and expensive, many installation companies offer various financing options. Just make sure that you use a reputable installer who can provide excellent references and a warranty.
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