You know you’re in the midst of one of Eskom’s bad spells when articles about the cost of getting off the power grid pop up.
We don’t know how long load shedding will go on for (years, optimistically), but we do know that the likes of the Kusile power station aren’t going to turn things around overnight.
Hence, here come the calculators and the number-crunching begins.
Let’s start with an article from yesterday where BusinessTech laid out some of the basics.
There are two main types of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to choose from; Grid-tied SSEG systems and off-grid or standalone SSEG systems.
Costing varies greatly depending on the size of the property and other factors, but here are the basics:
Pricing from energy specialists SolarAdvice shows that a lower-end system, built specifically to power some appliances during load shedding for a couple of hours, will set users back R34,700.
By comparison, a ‘starter’ off-grid power kit that will power small households for a short time will cost around R49,000. Those looking for a kit to give power continuously can expect to pay upwards of R90,000.
Speaking to MyBroadband in August, Nick Roche, chief product officer at energy company Rubicon, said that it will cost around R250,000 to install a power generation and storage system that is sufficient to take a small household completely off of Eskom’s grid.
R250 000 is a lot of candles, or lanterns, or torches.
I generally find I can survive with a UPS that powers my internet, although I was forced to eat dinner last night at 6PM like some sort of geriatric.
MyBroadband did a similar article last August, offering rough pricing for a three-bedroom home in Johannesburg.
The home with no energy efficiency audit would cost around R350 000 to take off the grid, and around R240 00 with an energy efficiency audit.
In both cases, the homeowners would still need to make a few lifestyle changes.
It’s never good news when people are throwing around terms like ‘Code Red’, which was the case towards the beginning of the year.
I guess if money isn’t an issue, then you can go all out and say bugger it.
One more pricing, this time from Business Insider SA back in 2019:
Prices vary depending on what your electricity usage is, but for standard four-person family home you could expect to pay around R200,000 – without taking government rebates into account.
…the three companies that gave us broad-stroke proposals give some idea of the range you can expect to pay to take a home off the grid right now: between R150,000 and R350,000.
Considering all of the above, we can say you’re probably in for at least R250 000 to get things up and running.
Again, figures vary hugely depending on your specific needs, the size of the property, how many people are in the home, and so on.
But, as a ballpark figure, you can use what’s stated above. For some, that might be worth it. For others, like Ralph Berold, it is most certainly not.
It would be grand to be able to laugh in the face of Eskom and those panicked updates (‘we apologise for the inconvenience caused”), but it won’t come cheap.
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