There is something to be said about having a singular power entity in South Africa. For starters, it doesn’t have to pay attention to the increasing rates, because it doesn’t have any competition. While countries like America, UK and Australia have several companies who compete with each other, Eskom only has to compete with itself. Everyone can agree that this is nothing short of a “broken market”, because there is nothing that motivates Eskom to lower electricity prices. To make matters worse, about 70% of municipality incomes depend largely on your massive electric bill. Well, it’s time that Eskom faces its worst nightmare – solar power. Now it’s your turn to reach into their pockets and leave them powerless.
If you are tired of getting a small heart-attack every month, either because Eskom has driven up the prices again or there is a complete lack of service delivery from the government, just keep on reading. Solar power alternatives are there to help you make your life easier and this is what this article is all about. Several of you are probably thinking you don’t have the finances to install major solar projects, but you are taking the wrong approach.
It’s critical that you understand something right now – you don’t need to get off the grid if you want to see a substantial change. In fact, there are many affordable options you can implement to bring about more independence from Eskom. Even though going off the grid is covered in this article, you’ll find many other helpful hints.
In light of sticking to a budget and taking those first steps towards independence, let’s look at some small changes you can make.
Many great strides have been made when it comes to solar lights and they are a lot brighter than you think. Ranging between R90 and R400, you can use solar lights inside and outside your home. Whether it’s for security reasons or simply to make the garden look attractive during the night, you don’t need Eskom to light up the dark. You can choose between portable models, which you can carry around where you need them, or you can install more permanent lights. If you want to make sure you have enough energy during the night you can invest in a solar battery.
By combining a converter with a few solar panels and a decent battery, you can run several appliances on renewable energy. These appliances include televisions, laptops and phone chargers. If you were to get a gas stove then you’re already halfway off the grid. In fact, you can even get things like a solar powered lawn mower or pool pump. Every little bit of energy you take away from Eskom will bring your electric bill down.
Making a Bigger Dent
If you really want to stick it to Eskom then you should think about investing in a solar geyser. An entire kit, which includes the solar collector and the tank, will cost you around R20 000. But keep in mind the tank is big enough to provide a family of 5 with hot water, and it will continue to do so for years to come. On rare occasions you might need to tap into the grid, but for the most part you’ll be saving up to 60% on your electric bill. Now compare a once-off investment of R20 000 to 20 years of increasing electricity prices. Chances are you’ll recoup your investment within the first year.
However, there is a cheaper option as well. It’s called the Retro Fit kit and it basically converts your geyser into a solar geyser. You’ll get all the panels and the pumps while using the tank you already have.
Going Off the Grid
As you can see, there’s no need to make the transformation in one go. By systematically implementing different solar power systems as you can afford them, you’ll eventually enjoy complete independence from the grid. But if you want to make the leap and install an off-the-grid system right now you’re looking at R200 000, depending on the size of your home, family and energy usage. Even though this might sound like a lot of money, take a look at our calculations article about going off the grid.
Some Final Thoughts
After all is said and done, solar power is Eskom’s worst nightmare. It’s also the only way you can effectively bring the big company to its knees. The price of panels continue to fall while Eskom continues to drain us for everything we are worth. Well, the exploitation stops right here. It’s time that South Africans take the initiative and force the government to find another source of making easy money from the people who actually pay for their services.