With winter on its way, along with the potential threat of load shedding, more South Africans are looking into installing alternative power sources and heating in their homes.
Wendy Williams, director of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, said that solar power is often considered one of the best alternative power sources. And although the initial set up costs are high, it can also save you thousands of rands in the long-term, she said.
“Solar panels, which are installed on the roof, collect solar energy and convert it into DC electricity which is then sent to an inverter. The inverter takes the DC electricity from the solar panels and charges the batteries.
“The batteries are connected to the mains and feed electricity into the home to power lighting and various appliances such as television, laptop, hairdryer, washing machine, dishwasher, kettle and toaster, but not appliances with larger heating elements such as stove, oven and geyser.
“In a nutshell, a solar power system consists of solar panels, an inverter and a lithium battery bank,” said Williams.
Williams said that it is important to take on the services of a reputable installer that uses top quality equipment.
A sales representative visits your house to assess requirements and then provides a quote. The larger the house, the more the lighting and appliances, the bigger the system, she said.
“According to Gauteng-based solar power specialist company NexSolar, the cost of solar power installation can range from around R63,000 to R200,000 depending on the size of the house and electrical output requirements.
“An 80 square metre house for example, would require 2 kW of power per day and this system would cost approximately R63,000 A bigger system of 5 kW would be recommended for a 250 square metre home, at a cost of R110,000.”
These costs include equipment, installation and electrical certificates, Williams said.
|Electricity expenditure in rands per month||System size||Approximate cost (including VAT)|
|Below R1 300||2 kW||R63 000|
|Between R1 300 – R2 200||3 kW||R74 000|
|Between R2 200 – R5 000||5 kW||R110 000|
|Over R5 000||10 kW||R188 0000|
The property expert said that power requirements depend largely on electricity usage and number of appliances.
For example, a phone draws around 100 watts of power, while a laptop uses approximately 200 watts.
“Every household is different, even though there are similarities. Heat-generating appliances such as geyser, stove, oven and heaters cannot be used with a solar power system as they draw too much electricity,” she said.
“However, smaller appliances with a heating element, such as a toaster and kettle can be used.
“A bigger solar power system, such as a 10 kW system, can allow for a geyser to run – if it is put on a timer so that it switches off automatically once the water reaches the right temperature.”