In  Solar

What it takes to go off the grid

By [email protected] | November 19, 2020

Solar and home batteries have come a long way. They’re more affordable and accessible than ever before – meaning the number of South African homes generating their own energy is on the rise. But, is going completely ‘off-grid’ a reality?

A lot of new residential housing developments are now designed to reduce the energy footprint for the homeowners when they take occupation. These green developments come with plans for solar panel arrays, inverters and batteries included, and the cost of such installations is then packaged into the purchase price for the home.  This helps to reduce their reliance on grid energy and this signifies a growing appetite for more self-sufficient and sustainable homes.

However, the process of disconnecting from the grid is still out of reach for the majority of South Africans – at least without significant up-front costs and a tolerance for occasional disruptions/load-shedding in the Eskom or municipal power supply. So, what does going off-grid actually mean for your home and your pocket?

We’ve put together some quick info on becoming a self-sufficient household, and how to start getting your home off the grid, even if its not a new development.

tips to consider for reducing your electricity demand allows you to work out what your demands for electricity will cost you for you to reduce your reliance on Eskom/Municipal electricity supply.

We tried to make it as simple a process as possible to allow you to choose preferences that suit your household and lifestyle, but with cost consideration also in mind. Because it does become expensive, and may then appear to be an unaffordable exercise.

What’s required to go off-grid?

Going off-grid means completely disconnecting your home from the national energy grid (Eskom), and relying solely on the energy generated from your household solar and battery storage system. To power a typical South African home, you’d need to install an inverter and battery storage system to ensure your home has enough power when the sun goes down.

In some situations, it’s possible to completely remove yourself from the national energy grid by investing in the right technology. But this can become a very expensive exercise. However, a more reliable and less expensive option is to size up the right equipment (panels, hybrid inverter, batteries) and enjoy the reassurance of grid-power when it is available. 

 What are the benefits of battery storage?

Home batteries allow you to bank excess solar energy generated during the day so you can use it later, reducing your reliance on grid energy and helping to bring your energy bills down. For homes without battery storage, in the future, excess energy generated by their solar system can be sent back to the grid (to feed other homes).

This is now increasingly likely in the Western Cape and possibly in Gauteng before too long due to a recent court case that has caused amendment to the laws governing the generation and distribution of electricity in South Africa – which means that you will be able to unlock the full potential of their solar system, while potentially enjoying free electricity and the municipality paying you back for your service. How about that?

Should I stay connected to the grid?

The national energy grid provides a sometimes reliable supply of energy, but the loadshedding is something that will stay with us long into the future, until Eskom has been stabilised. So while you can make a best effort to go off-grid, when batteries are depleted, or when solar systems aren’t generating enough energy from the sun – like on consecutive cloudy days, it becomes necessary to have the municipal supply as backup, and so a grid-tied system is what we recommend, and hybrid inverters are designed for such a purpose.  

Get Financed

When you are ready for a quotation and we are just as ready, and you can get more than a few quotations as you can easily adjust your preferences any time!

If you need to refine your preferences, you can get back to at any time and you will receive a revised quotation.

African Bank can finance your solar installation. They will do affordability and credit checks before they grant you the finance. And you can start living your life off the grid. 

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