Finweek English Edition - - FEEDBACK - Peter Smu­lik Fin­week Lloyd Bir­rell

With ref­er­ence to a re­cent ar­ti­cle in

( Pro­tect your piggy bank this win­ter – go so­lar, 28 March edi­tion) I want to re­late my ex­pe­ri­ence with a so­lar geyser in­stal­la­tion, a 200l, f lat-plate So­lar­max, which was in­stalled ex­actly two years ago in Mil­ner­ton, Cape Town. The to­tal cost was about R19 000, less a re­bate of some R6 000. 1. It works f ine. 2. Be­tween about mid-Oc­to­ber and now, end-March, the elec­tric­ity to the geyser is switched off. 3. Dur­ing the cooler months the power comes on for about 1 ½-2 hours in the af­ter­noon. 4. Three peo­ple have been liv­ing in the

dwelling for the past four years. 5. To­tal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion dur­ing

the last 24 months was 9 250kW/h. 6. To­tal con­sump­tion the pre­vi­ous 24 months was 10 800kW/h, ie prior to in­stal­la­tion. Dur­ing the two years since in­stal­la­tion we saved about 1 550kWh, or 14% of the to­tal pre­vi­ous con­sump­tion – this works out to some R2 100, or R87 a month.

7. The to­tal money sav­ing is some­times quite ex­ag­ger­ated, it de­pends en­tirely how much peo­ple con­sume. The more hot water is used, the more sav­ings, but only dur­ing the sum­mer months, as from now un­til Oc­to­ber the geyser needs the ex­tra boost of daily elec­tric power. 9. In ret­ro­spect, I still rec­om­mend a so­lar geyser in­stal­la­tion but the amor­ti­sa­tion is much longer than most sup­pli­ers would have us be­lieve – in our case it will be a max­i­mum of 150 months, de­pend­ing on how much the kW/h price in­creases. Thought this might be use­ful to some read­ers. Pre­to­ria East, one has to f irst nav­i­gate traf­fic to Hat­field, park, then take the train to Pre­to­ria Cen­tral, and then on to Jo­han­nes­burg. It’s too hard and too time con­sum­ing, so they drive. Un­til the Gau­train ac­cesses Pre­to­ria East di­rectly from Cen­tu­rion, by­pass­ing Cen­tral and Hat­field, it will lose money. Of course let us not for­get this fail­ure to ser­vice the Gau­train’s big­gest mar­ket was raised prior to con­struc­tion, and ig­nored. Thank you for in­put on the story. If you watched the Fin­week: Money Mat­ters show on Fri­day, you would have heard Ian Ol­lis (Demo­cratic Al­liance spokesper­son on trans­port in Gaut­eng) point out that the Gau­train is go­ing to have to be in­cred­i­bly care­ful around can­ni­bal­is­ing or com­pet­ing with Metro­rail routes. Gau­train spokesper­son Bar­bera Jensen in­di­cated on the show that the Gau­train was to in­ves­ti­gate pre-fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies in and around Cen­tu­rion and Pre­to­ria. Routes are only one part of the prob­lem, as mem­bers of staff here at Fin­week have re­alised. Nearly a quar­ter of our em­ploy­ees travel from Pre­to­ria to Sand­ton each day on the train and their big­gest chal­lenge is the park­ing on the Pre­to­ria side.

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