HOW TO GET
Load-shedding is likely to be a part of our lives for the next three years and possibly even longer. And with tariffs also rising – Eskom is asking for a 25.3% increase this year – it just makes financial sense to minimise Eskom consumption even if the electricity supply was secure.
In South Africa, there are only two alternative energy solutions for the household: wind and solar. The use of wind power, however, is only feasible on the east coast and west coast, as the wind doesn’t blow strongly enough elsewhere. For the rest of the country, solar is the best bet.
This is according to the chairman of the Southern African Alternative Energy Association, Alwyn Smith. He says wind energy solutions are very specialised and generally end up being more expensive than solar because of the maintenance costs.
According t o Smith, getting a s ol ar photovoltaic (PV) system is an initial capital investment that is worth its cost. Although most solar energy installers will encourage you to get a full system at once, Smith says consumers can install it one step at a time if they cannot afford the entire system at once.
In the local context, the first dilemma is overcoming load-shedding. Smith says consumers can get a battery back-up system, which includes a battery and an inverter. The batteries are charged when you have electricity, and once load-shedding occurs, the inverter will convert the energy in the batteries to about 220 volts of power so you can run your essentials from them.
“What is important to understand is that with this simple system you are not saving anything