De Ruyter painted a bleak picture on the prospects of load-shedding over the next few years, as Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) has seen a continued decline in the past few years due to its ageing coal power plants.
He highlighted that Eskom’s plant reliability maintenance programme means that load-shedding should be less frequent after September 2021, but stressed that the country would still suffer a power shortfall for the next five years.
Continued load-shedding and power outages mean many people are looking for backup power solutions for their homes and businesses.
Marketing Director of the One Energy Group, Teresa Settas said South Africans are also fed up with the rising electricity prices and mooted penalties for making alternative arrangements to get the power that Eskom cannot reliably or affordably supply.
Settas added that the parlous state of South Africa’s municipalities should also be of great concern, with outright collapsing of services and governance a daily occurrence.
“An alarming increase in cable theft and failing electrical infrastructure at municipal level are as harrowing as Eskom’s dire state of financial and technical affairs,” Settas said.
This, she claimed, compromised peoples’ productivity, safety, security, and quality of life.
Settas advised those looking for a backup power solution should take a long-term view to going off grid.
“Starting your journey this way is a crucial step towards greater grid-independence and lot more affordable than people realise,” Settas stated.
“With the advances in solar technology and pricing, you can hedge your electricity costs for the next 20-25 years and secure your supply at less than half the price that Eskom can supply it, by making savvy investment decisions today.”
She recommended that consumers start with a scalable, quality solar PV hybrid solution that takes care of their immediate needs for back-up power during load shedding and power failures.
“Initially your system is configured as a back-up UPS type solution to provide backup only during outages,” Settas said.
As your budget allows, you can expand this with solar panels to generate your own electricity, providing back-up power and saving you in electricity costs.
Setta said a good starting combination for backup power is a 4.6kW inverter paired with a 3.5kWh lithium-ion battery. This would cost around R71,000 with installation.
While initially configured as a UPS, it also comes with a charge controller that allow you to connect solar panels to operate as a hybrid solar system at a later stage.
Adding 4kW of solar panels will cost around R47,000 with installation that includes the required electrical protection.
After this, you could add another 3.5kWh battery for around R21,000 to increase your storage capacity.
This would mean you effectively have the ability to store 7kWh of energy, with a peak output capacity of 4.6kW at any given time.
How long a battery back-up system will be able to power a home is dependent on two factors:
Size of the battery bank.
Amount of load from connected appliances.
To protect the battery’s lifespan, it is automatically disconnected when its battery is drained by 80%.