Solar credit comes to SA

2010-02-19 23:29
Cape Town - South Africans who find Eskom's proposed tariff hikes unbearable have at least one other option - solar power.

Unfortunately the technology is often expensive, but a company has recently promoted the novel idea of payment terms for solar hot water systems.

"Our approach is new," Safrelec's Alan Liebenberg told News24. "What we're saying that Eskom's is trouble and it's forcing people to look at greener alternatives. The questions is: 'Can Eskom provide and if they can, at what cost?""

The company acknowledged that the cost of solar powers systems is steep.

"Yes, this stuff is expensive, but you always get what you pay for. A lot of money goes into producing this and it has a minimum life expectancy of 20 years, and after that, it won't lose more than 20% of efficiency per year," Liebenberg said.

Payment plan

Solar energy seems to be viable in SA because the country gets a great deal of sunshine. However, the power crisis with rolling blackouts has made people acutely aware of their dependence on Eskom.

"About 30% to 50% of your electricity bill is for water heating alone, so we suggest going solar for your geyser. The cost for such a system is between R13 000 and R17 000, depending on the system, and cook with gas," said Liebenberg.

He admitted that for many households the system was cost prohibitive, but added that with the company's payment plan and the government rebate, it more affordable than in the past.

"You need to look at it in its entirety. Most people have high electrical accounts of about R900 per month. But that's the price now. When the price increases, it could easily get to R2 500 per month after three years.

"With a payment plan, you get the rebate in cash up front and make the payments for you solar power, and eventually the system pays for itself," he added.

He warned though, that the public should be aware of unscrupulous operators.

"Cheap, low quality imports nearly killed the Australian solar power industry. All it takes is for one person to get burned and because of the price people will rather stay with Eskom," he said.


Liebenberg said that the industry had a long way to go in SA, but that with mass production, the price would come down. He commended the government's plans for low-cost housing but said he hoped for more encouragement for alternative energy.

"Solar energy is absolutely sustainable. We have two projects that run off the grid. Our Love & Motar programme has a house in Linden that's completely off the grid. It runs on solar power, but much bigger than the water heating systems I mentioned," Liebenberg added.

He said that two years ago, a solar water heating system for a family, or 200 litres cost R32 000, but that today it was R25 000, with a rebate of R7 000.

Read more on:    solar power

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...


Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true

Today is a good day to go large with your significant other. Let go of obligations, expectations and chores and let the day more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.