Solar, battery systems recommended for citizens to manage load-shedding, energy costs

24th May 2022 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

With the price of electricity expected to increase further and load-shedding expected to continue over the next five years, South Africans should consider alternative energy sources, online solar platform and marketplace Hohm Energy consultant Matthew Cruise emphasised during a media roundtable on May 24.

He noted that the tariffs charged by State-owned utility Eskom and municipalities are increasing.

Further, amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, diesel and coal costs are also likely to continue increasing, and would eventually contribute to higher tariffs.

Cruise also noted that a number of Eskom’s older power stations are due to be decommissioned up to 2035 and this would likely add to supply constraints if new generation capacity is not urgently procured and built.

He pointed out that the renewable energy that is planned to come onto the grid over the next five years is less than one-fifth of the coal capacity that is to be decommissioned.

Further, the new renewables capacity will not be suitable for addressing peak demand, unless South Africa invests in still expensive batteries and other storage solutions.

Cruise advised home owners to take control of their electricity needs, saying a solar and battery installation would be the best solution; however, he emphasised that that installation must be grid-tied.

He recommended getting a system that accounts for about 80% to 90% of one’s electricity needs, with a lifeline to Eskom to recharge the battery during cloudy weather.

Cruise said the cost of a solar and battery system, when financed through a bond or rent-to-own model would balance out, resulting in minimal impact on one’s monthly budget.