Many people have taken the decision to go solar and with the instability of our current power grid, who can blame them? But what is involved in making the move to solar, and is it going to break the bank? Jade Kriel of Tegwaans Solar, a local, family run business weighs in. (MR)
For many their first thought is “No way Solar is too expensive,” or “it doesn’t work.”
Before dismissing the idea out of hand, there are a number of things to consider.
Yes, the initial capital outlay is high, BUT, what are you paying for? And how long is your purchase expected to benefit you?
When buying a car or a home, the total price is high, and you expect that, as it is something that is considered a long term “product”. They are purchases that will serve you for many years. Solar is no different.
Solar is not a short-term solution to combat load shedding, it is a long-term strategy to become self-sufficient.
When South Africa had regular periods of load shedding there was a knee jerk reaction whereby people jumped to invest in products that where cheaper, hoping to alleviate the short term outage problem. Unfortunately, many “invested” in low quality products that have left them disappointed and frustrated, often justifying their rash decision by bad mouthing “Solar”.
Quality is essential if you are looking for a sustainable, long term strategy.
Solar is something that can be financed, and is often included in a home loan as it is considered a value added asset to your home.
Becoming Self-sufficient is not an overnight task, it is achieved through daily processes. Before you can become self-sufficient you need to become fully aware of your usage and where this consumption is going so that you can control and manage this.
FIRST STEPS TO A SELF SUFFICIENT SOLAR FUTURE:
UNDERSTAND YOUR CONSUMPTION
It is not enough to see your bill changing monthly without understanding why. Every appliance on your load has a different consumption demand. Some are more, or less, “efficient” than others.
A good place to start is with the least efficient or highest power consuming items. A clue to this is, anything that uses electricity to generate heat, for example, geysers, oven/stoves, lights and appliances with large motors. These by far the most inefficient appliances in your home. You can either measure their usage, or check the information sticker the manufacturers put on the appliance. You are looking for the Current in Amps(A) or Usage in measures of Watts (W or kW or kWh).
MEASURE YOUR CONSUMPTION
Using a device that can monitor and track your consumption will give you great insight into what/where and how much you are using. You will be able to measure every appliance in your house. This will be an eye opener to many. You may also find that geyser timers and alternative cooking methods very quickly become necessities, and their value becomes a lot more economical.
At Tegwaans Solar, we are able to install and supply an Electrical Meter. We do this before we install a Solar System.
Firstly we measure, then we educate by advising the client where inefficiencies have been occurring and encouraging them to reduce consumption. There is no sense wasting your capital investment when simple changes can be made to tighten up inefficiencies.
The FINAL step in the process is the design, supply and installation of the complete system.
We ensure that you buy only what you need in order to be self-sufficient. Our systems are dynamic and can grow with your needs and with your budget. You are able to expand as needed. It is important to note however, that battery sets should be installed complete and not be expanded at a later stage due to electrical impedance, which in layman’s terms, simply means resistance.
In future posts we will discuss How to Further Reduce Electrical Consumption , How Solar is a Way of Life and The Importance of Quality products”.
This is a guest post by Jade Kriel of Tegwaan’s Solar, based in Highway Gardens. Jade is responsible for the sales, administration and design side of the company. She draws up the initial solar design and calculations.