It's good to know your options, especially when it comes to investing in your home. In this case the investment will be powering your home with renewable energy and getting off the grid. At the moment there are three standalone options you can look at, which is also what this article is all about. We'll be taking a look at what route you can take in order to gain independence from the increasing Eskom prices, and relying on nature to get dinner cooked.
South Africa has just started to gain some ground in terms of harnessing wind energy, and it's one of the most efficient ways to generate electricity. But don't they belong on big windfarms? Can you install one in your backyard?
The good news is that you can get residential size turbines, but you are still going to need enough space for the project. With strong enough winds and efficient turbines you can easily get off the grid, or at least save up to 90% on your electric bill. Unfortunately it's also a little pricey, and no wind means no energy. Then there's the issue of maintenance, because turbines have a lot of moving parts. If maintained regularly it can easily provide energy for more than 20 years, and if you live in a naturally windy area it should definitely be an option.
Hydro energy is the process of water turning a turbine and creating energy. In other words, you'll find these systems where a stream is flowing. More specifically, a stream that's always moving from higher level to a lower level. It's regarded as the most consistent way of generating energy, because the water is always flowing and the turbine is always turning. This also means it's constantly producing energy and a battery is rarely needed. Plus, the amount of energy it generates is enough to power most of the appliances inside your home.
Unfortunately you'll need to live near a stream in order to utilize this resource. There is also some maintenance involved given the constantly turning turbine. Individuals who have the liberty of using it will probably tell you it's one of the best ways to go.
Seeing as we've already covered so much solar power information on this site, we'll use this section to stack up all your options. More importantly, we'll look at why solar panels are more popular than the above mentioned options.
Compared to turbines, solar panels produce less energy, but they are more practical. Firstly, they require very little maintenance, because there aren't any moving parts. Secondly, sunshine is more consistent than wind if you look at the South African climate. Thirdly, you don't need to live near a strong running stream. Last but not least, you don't need extra space to install solar panels. So even though they may be less efficient than hydro and wind energy, they are much easier to implement and they can still take you off the grid.