With the basic cost of electricity going up by almost 20% this year - after almost a decade of tariff hikes - many South Africans are considering alternative ways to power their homes. Solar power is a practical, affordable solution that can help you reduce your reliance on Eskom or your local municipality’s power grid - but what exactly is involved in “go s
Powering your home, 21st-century style

Countries around the world are doing their best to move away from coal and gas-burning power stations to embrace renewable energy systems. The good news is, you don’t need to wait for your local government to switch to solar power – you can do it yourself.

With solar panels, a solar geyser, and a few pieces of equipment, you can harness the sun’s rays to power your home and achieve energy self-sufficiency. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Setting up your ‘going solar’ energy system

If you take the decision to go solar, you’ll need a certified electrician or solar panel company to install several solar panels – probably on your roof. You can also opt to replace your current geyser with a solar geyser to save even more on electricity each month.

  • You will need a set of solar panels – up to 24 for a large home, to generate electricity
  • To store power for cloudy days, you’ll also need a battery bank and inverter
  • Replacing your existing lights with LED lighting will allow you to power your home with less electricity than a standard house on the Eskom grid would use
How much will it cost?

The more electricity you plan to generate using solar panels, the more your solar energy system is likely to cost. If you’d like to go ‘off the grid’ and make your home totally energy self-sufficient, no longer having to rely on the national power grid at all, you’ll need to invest R 200 000 or more in a large, reliable solar power system.

However, it’s also possible to stay on the grid and replace some of your energy needs with solar power. This will reduce the cost of your solar energy system to between R80 000 and R150 000, depending on the size of your home and how much power you need to produce each month.

If these figures sound high, it’s worth remembering that you’ll be saving money on your electricity bill in the years and decades to come. A R 200 000 solar energy system will cost R 20 000 a year over 10 years – or just under R 1 700 a month. If you’re paying more than that for electricity every month, you’ll definitely save in the long run.

Investing in a reliable power supply

A solar power system won’t just save you money over the years – it will also take away the uncertainty that comes with load-shedding.

Power surges that take place when electricity is turned on and off frequently, power cuts that trigger your home alarm system, and the dangerous situation that a dark home and driveway can create are just some of the hassles that solar power can help you avoid.

If you’re thinking of making the switch to solar power, make sure you update your home insurance policy to cover the new equipment you’re having installed. For more information on home insurance policies, contact a reputable insurance provider such as IWYZE from Old Mutual today.