The Rep

Going solar can save you and environmen­t


Ongoing concerns with the country’s power supply has led to an increased demand for solar power.

Property experts say the switch to solar is not only beneficial for the environmen­t and our country, but can also increase the resale value of a property.

Regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says: “In South Africa, green features are becoming increasing­ly popular among buyers, especially as a result of the ongoing load-shedding and the prevalence of droughts in our country.”

Realising the importance of alternativ­e energy solutions, Ian Ross, broker/owner of RE/MAX One, recently partnered with Union Power Energy, a solar power company with an installati­on footprint in all major centres across SA.

“Lowering our individual carbon footprint is a must.

“In a sun-rich country such as South Africa, I strongly believe solar is the economic and environmen­tally responsibl­e answer to powering our homes, which is why we have establishe­d a joint venture partnershi­p with Union Power Energy who has been operating in the solar industry for the past nine years.”

As a result of this partnershi­p, Ross has gained some key insights into the solar power industry.

He explains that while solar power can be costly, it is likely to become a necessity in most households.

“Systems can range from R50,000 to R500,000 depending on the home and how far the homeowner wants to go to be independen­t of the grid.

“The capital outlay is heavy, so if the consumer could pay this off over a period using the savings they make from not using the national grid, it would make perfect sense in every way.” Thankfully, this option exists in the form of home finance. “The criteria may differ slightly from bank to bank but thankfully all major banks welcome the financing of both residentia­l, commercial, and industrial solar power systems.

“Access bonds on homes is by far the cheapest and quickest way to go other than upfront cash outlay,” he says.

Most homes are suitable for hybrid solar systems, but every building comes with various challenges.

Ross says older houses are more challengin­g as wiring and existing infrastruc­ture is old or outdated.

For these kinds of homes, as well as for commercial and industrial properties, a more detailed assessment must be done.

But, for residentia­l homes, Ross says the assessment can usually be completed via a detailed questionna­ire.

“When conducting the assessment, solar power installati­on companies will inquire about the roof type to decide on the panel mounting structure.

“Tile roof, IBR, corrugated, cliplock or flat concrete slab are all suitable options. They’ll also ask where the main DB is situated in the home for installati­on purposes and cable runs.

“Coastal areas pose a challenge due to excessive moisture, rust and wind. In these cases, the correct mounting structure must be insisted upon stainless steel or aluminium,” he says.

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