Latest Posts

New cannabis bill could see construction taking the high road

The proposed amendments to the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill that seeks to further decriminalise cannabis usage and legalise South…

Read More..

A root cause of flooding in Accra: developers clogging up the city’s wetlands

Christopher Gordon, University of Ghana Ghana has six designated Ramsar sites. These are wetlands designated under the criteria of the…

Read More..

Nigerian property crime could be reduced if neighbourhoods were better designed

Adewumi Badiora, Olabisi Onabanjo University Nigeria has a very high crime rate. The Global Peace Index ranked it the world’s…

Read More..

Inner cities are growth engines attracting young homebuyers

Inner city living is boosting the city residential property market and driving urban rejuvenation Inner cities. Love them or hate…

Read More..

Kenya’s push for affordable housing is creating opportunities despite barriers

Raphael M. Kieti, University of Nairobi; Robert W. Rukwaro, University of Nairobi, and Washington H.A. Olima, University of Nairobi In…

Read More..

Heron IVC: Walking the green talk

Waterfall is closing the loop on waste Waterfall prioritises sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship as a strategic imperative, keeping the…

Read More..

Italtile unpacks new Nordic wood looks

Introducing Helsinki EcoWood by EcoCeramic Ceràmica. Right now, the hybrid Japandi trend is rising fast, with its calming combination of…

Read More..

Flagstaff Square sets a new standard for rural retail

Flagstaff, located in the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape, began its existence as a trading post and essentially…

Read More..

6th Jun 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Keeping South Africa’s lights on

Don’t blow a fuse when Eskom suddenly leaves you in the dark again – these load shedding solutions will help keep the lights on without short circuiting you’re finances. But first do your homework

Deciding to go off-grid is easy on a cold, dark winter evening when you’re enduring a two-and-a-half-hour blackout and contemplating another five years of what Eskom euphemistically calls load shedding. Before you rush out to buy a generator or solar panels and a battery back-up, it’s worth doing some homework to make sure your solution is fit-for-purpose, affordable to run, and doesn’t break any laws or regulations. Shafeeqah Isaacs, head of financial education at personal loan specialists DirectAxis, says there has been a noticeable increase in enquiries about finance for standby or backup power systems lately.

CONSIDER THIS

However, expert opinion suggests that before taking the plunge there are some important considerations. For example, do you want to go completely off-grid or do you just need to run some lights and maybe a television when the power goes out? There may even be some preparatory considerations, such as replacing all your lights with LEDs and making sure your geyser is insulated and ideally on a timer when load shedding happens. Not only will this save you some money when Eskom does manage to keep the lights on, but, because you’ll need less power, it could lower the cost of your alternative solution.

“The experts concur that no matter the generation option you decide on, the more electricity you need or want to generate the higher the upfront cost,” says Isaacs. “That’s why it makes sense to ensure you’re using electricity as efficiently as possible and to potentially look at incrementally becoming power independent rather than trying to go big bang all at once.”

GENERATING POWER

As a quick, easy solution, generators are often the first thing people think about. With a myriad options and prices ranging from around R2,000 to R30,000 and more, even choosing a generator can be tricky if you haven’t thought carefully about your requirements. In your haste to banish the next load shedding blackout you could buy something that delivers more power than you really require, with all the attendant running and maintenance costs. Or worse, waste money on a generator that doesn’t produce sufficient power for your needs.

Some questions you should ask:

  • Do the manufacturers’ guidelines and specifications match your requirements? Overloading could inhibit performance, shorten the life of the generator or damage it.
  • Is the generator approved for use in South African conditions?
  • What does it cost to run and maintain?
  • Where will you install it? Generators can be noisy and need to be well ventilated.
  • Are there any installation costs?
  • Does installing a generator break any conditions in your household insurance policy?

 

INSTALLATION WOES

You also need to make sure you aren’t breaking the law. The two main things to consider are installation and noise. Standby generators, used to run a few appliances while there is load shedding, generally don’t need to be wired into the household circuit and consequently don’t need to be installed by a professional electrician. Backup generators, which are wired into a household circuit and kick in when the mains power goes down, do need to be installed by a professional and must not break any municipal bylaws, which differ from municipality to municipality.

NOISE FACTOR

The other regulations, which apply to all generators, covers the noise they make. Depending on where you live you will need to make sure your generator does not make more noise than is allowed, or a complaint from a neighbour could land you with a fine or worse.

GOING SOLAR

Another increasingly popular solution is solar or photovoltaic systems, both as a way to keep the lights on and to reduce escalating electricity costs. As the technology improves, solar is becoming more efficient and cost-effective.

Again, there are a variety of options available, depending on your needs. These vary from relatively simple, affordable options that will provide light when Eskom throws the switch with load shedding, to very fancy systems, with panels that track the sun and will power most appliances in a large household. Depending on how much power you require, solar systems range from just over R60,000 for a system that produces 2kW per day to around R200,000 for one that generates 10kW a day.

When considering solar, however, remember the batteries used to store the energy don’t last forever and need to be replaced. This can cost as much as half of the initial outlay, so consider this when you’re working out the budget. Before installing a photovoltaic system it’s also important to make sure you’re not contravening any regulations. For example, the City of Cape Town requires all systems to be registered. Owners of unregistered systems are liable to be fined.

UNINTERRUPTED POWER?

Other options include uninterrupted power systems (UPS) which will run some essential equipment for a while. Again, prices vary, but you should be able to find one for around R1,000.

The post Keeping the lights on appeared first on Everything Property.

Syndicated content from Everything Property


error

If you find this website useful please spread the word.

RSS
Follow by Email
WhatsApp