More South African homeowners are choosing to move to solar panels due to increasing affordability and the wide range of benefits they offer.
However there are also options for homes looking to only partially integrate solar power into their current electricity system, says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
“Whether you go completely off-grid or simply supplement your household energy intake with a smaller system it will already be the start to increasing your property value,” Hutchinson said.
“The primary investment of solar power is often enough to scare one off, however the payback period of your investment, and future rewards, make solar power affordable to most homeowners.”
Where to start?
“Installing a solar system is not just a matter of putting up a few panels and adding a few batteries, there is no standard system, each system has to be correctly sized to suit the requirements of each home,” Hutchinson said.
“Make sure the company you are dealing with is an established company with a good reputation and can provide the correct advice and service backup.”
Hutchinson added that it is important to prioritise, reducing your heaviest loads first, as this will deliver the greatest savings:
- Start by replacing the home’s light bulbs with energy efficient lighting.
- Replace your home’s geyser with a heat pump, or solar geyser. A highly insulated hot water storage system can also cut the homes electricity costs by an estimated 50%.
- A solar photovoltaic (PV) system can provide up to 30% of an average home’s energy. It is hugely beneficial in the long-term and must be viewed as an investment. However, before embarking on this, it is important to understand whether the home’s rooftop has been designed to accommodate the optimal number of panels.
- Lastly, homeowners can choose a complete integrated system. A hybrid inverter and battery, such as Energy Partners’ own ICON Home Energy Hub, enables property owners to integrate power from their solar PV panels, the national grid and batteries. It also incorporates a mobile app to track energy usage and savings in real time.
Despite decreasing in price over the last few years, solar energy systems can still be quite expensive when it comes to installation
Notably, the size of your home as well as the amount of work that is involved for installation will determine the cost, Hutchinson said.
Citing Cala van der Westhuizen, head of marketing and sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, Hutchinson said that the main pricing categories are as follows:
- The complete heating solution costs around for the average home – R35,000
- The complete Solar photovoltaic (PV) system – R80,000 and upwards
- ICON Home Energy Hub – between R100,000 – R180,000
According to MyBroadband, these installations also require additional maintenance – such as ensuring that the panels are clean – and you will likely end up changing the cells (batteries) every 7-10 years which will bring additional costs.