With the ruling of the Constitutional Court having allowed power utility Eskom to retrospectively ask the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to claw back additional tariffs from consumers, solar energy equipment supplier Energy Partners Home Solutions believes that this could lead to further hikes in the price of electricity for South Africans.
Energy Partners Home Solutions marketing and sales head Cala van der Westhuizen says solar energy can reduce the impact of future tariff hikes as a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can provide up to 30% of an average home’s energy.
Although this type of system costs upward of R80 000, she notes that it is hugely beneficial in the long-term and must be viewed as an investment.
“Before embarking on this, it is important to understand whether the home’s rooftop has been designed to accommodate the optimal number of panels.”
He explains that a hybrid inverter and battery, such as Energy Partners’ ICON Home Energy Hub, enables property owners to integrate power from their solar PV panels, the national grid and batteries. It also incorporates a mobile app to track energy use and savings in real time.
He highlights that property owners can reduce their electricity costs by as much as 80% with the right combination of energy saving technologies. Homeowners can use their own discretion as to how much they want to save and invest in energy efficiency, but most will find that even small changes could make a noticeable difference.
“Replacing a home’s light bulbs with energy efficient lighting is the first place to start. After that, replacing your home’s geyser with a heat pump, and a highly insulated hot water storage system, cuts the home’s electricity costs by an estimated 50%. The complete heating solution costs around R35 000 for the average home,” he states.
Van der Westhuizen points out that, while the capital required for home generation has decreased substantially in recent years, the upfront cost of a new system can still be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners.
Energy Partners is an approved credit provider under the National Credit Act and offers financing for homeowners. Energy Partners launched its Smart Living Solutions initiative in partnership with Nedbank last year. This enables qualifying Nedbank clients to invest in energy-saving products for their homes as part of their existing home loans.
“Our standard terms are prime +2.5%, financed over five years, with a 10% upfront deposit. We have also developed a long-term lease model, where the client can simply lease the system from us instead of having to pay for it upfront,” he states.
He concludes that alternative energy has become a good long-term investment with great financial benefits, and innovative financing options have made this option available to even more homeowners.