solar-panel-installation

Update: One Week After We Got Solar Installed

Last Updated: January 18, 2024By

We finally got solar installed and said goodbye to loadshedding.

You can read a little more about it here.

Update: One year after we got solar

The delay was with getting finance from the banks. Switching home loan from Standard Bank to FNB was very difficult due to the extremely poor support we got from Standard Bank.

Initially we wanted to increase our bond with Standard Bank in order to pay for the solar, but they couldn’t even tell us how much extra we would need to pay on our bond repayments.

They also wouldn’t tell us how much the bond cancellation fees would cost. It was a nightmare but after about 6 months we were able to switch to FNB which was a GREAT decision.

We increased our bond amount with FNB and used that to pay for our solar installation.

So now that we have solar, what did we experience in the past week?

We have literally not experienced a single power outage and we’ve said goodbye to loadshedding.

Our monthly bill with Eskom is forecast to be reduced from R2,500 per month to R390 per month. We are now spending R13 per day on electricity from Eskom.

Why are we still buying electricity from Eskom? We shower in the morning and at night. We have 3 geysers and we use some Eskom power to heat up the geysers when the sun isn’t shining.

We’re looking at solar geysers (using heat, not electricity) in the future and we’re also going to adjust the timing on one of the geysers to not switch on at 4am in time for a 6am shower. The water in the geyser actually stays warm for about 24 hours so we don’t need that extra energy consumption.

We have become obsessed with becoming more energy efficient. Now we plan when we do laundry or cook because we can see exactly when our battery gets drained. This is a good thing when you live in a country with an energy crisis.

We have FAR more power coming from the solar panels than what we can use. We would love to feed this into the grid but the City of Johannesburg doesn’t have a feed-in tariff for residential (unlike City of Cape Town which does). This means we would be better off storing the energy for our own needs or finding a way of sharing it with our neighbours.

Our battery is fully charged by the sun by 09h30. After that the solar panels go into idle mode because there’s nowhere for them to send the energy to. We are going to have to invest in more batteries to store our surplus energy.

I turn on our pool pump during the day just to use the surplus energy from the sun and give the solar panels something to do.

If we could afford electric cars we would use the surplus energy to charge them.

If the government could simply change policies and allow residential solar generation to feed into the grid with a feed-in tariff it would make help with our energy woes as a country. Botswana does this. Why can’t South Africa? I think we all know why…

We don’t know when there is loadshedding and we have to check the Eishkom app. When we come home at night during loadshedding we are one of the only houses in the street with electricity. The others have generators which cost an arm and a leg to run with the fuel costs.

Our electric fence, beams, gate motor and alarm system are fully functional at all times because load shedding doesn’t happen to us anymore.

I have become a solar power nerd. My wife is going nuts with me constantly updating her about how much power the sun gave us today, what percentage the battery is charged and how little power we used from the grid.

Conclusion – was getting solar a good idea?

Yes.

We have added value to our property.

We no longer have loadshedding or power cuts at our house.

The extra we have to pay on our bond from getting solar is more than off-set by the money we save on our electricity bill.

We can work online more often from our house without needing to find a coffee shop with free WIFI and a generator during load shedding.

We save money on data since the fibre still works during loadshedding and our WiFi is constantly up.

It’s a no brainer. I wish our esteemed government would catch a wake-up and promote solar, but you can’t get a kickback from the sun I guess. What about people who can’t get a bond? Solar rental is an option. What about people with no money at all? Government made promises but government stole and lied. Government needs to actually use tax money to deliver on its promises. Elections are coming up…

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About the Author: Tony Lopes

Tony is the founder and editor of CleanVolts.co.za. He has completed solar certifications and courses through Green Solar Academy. Tony's goal is to see solar panels on every roof-top in South Africa and the adoption of EVs and renewable technology across the African continent.