Monthly Archives

January 2017

Western Cape Drought: The Silver Lining On Cloudless Skies

By | Energy Partners Home Solutions Stories | No Comments

Good news despite level 3b water restrictions!

Solar energy users are benefitting from a hot, dry summer.

On 1 February 2017, residents of the Western Cape must adhere to new level 3b water restrictions. The city’s water restrictions are now even tighter and the scorching weather is burning a hole through residents’ pockets.

Despite the Western Cape feeling the heat of stringent water restrictions and rising water tariffs, there’s one group of residents for whom the hot, dry weather is a reason to smile. Home and business owners who are using solar PV systems have been saving big on electricity! This is thanks to a surge in solar production.

Solar production during December 2016 exceeded expectations by as much as 10% in the Western Cape.

This is due to the fact that there were 29 virtually cloud-free days over much of the city. Energy Partners Home Solutions has over 40 solar home energy systems installed in and around Cape Town, all of which produced between 7% and 11% more energy than what was expected for the month of December. Take into account the fact that a well-designed home solar energy solution can cut a household’s electricity bill by as much as 70% on average. It’s clear that the increase in solar production equated to big savings in home and small businesses.

This means that those who’ve been smart enough to invest in solar enjoyed a few extra rands in their pockets this season and that, at least for some, there’s been a silver lining to the mostly cloudless skies.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On December 30, 2017, Fin24 released an article featuring Mila Loubser, our head of Engineering Intelligence, and Cala van der Westhuizen, our Home Solutions marketing manager. The article discusses why small businesses should consider renewable energy.

Massive above-inflation tariff increases

The next eight years will likely see an above-inflation year-on-year electricity tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%.

The large investments Eskom is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future. This will make it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy.

Since 2008 the average tariff increase in South Africa has been around 300%.

Possible carbon tax to be introduced

In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

This trend will have the largest impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As we have seen in previous years, energy tariff hikes and other power related issues such as load shedding, had massive impacts on the operating costs and the already low profit margins of SMEs. There are, however, opportunities for smaller companies to reduce the impact of power costs and supply on their business.

SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

Renewable = Tax exemptions

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar and other renewable energy solutions back from SARS. Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy and also consider financing options from certain service providers. There are a number of benefits to installing solar energy solutions in small businesses. All of these benefits contribute to reducing operating costs and downtime in the event of power outages.


 

 

Read the full article here.

Electricity Fun Facts: How much energy would it take to power yourself?

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

When looking at the top six power-hungry home appliances in this article, it’s difficult to really understand the kWh unit.

To help understand how much these top 6 offenders actually consume, we’ve compared it to the human body.

So, how hard would you have to work to literally power your home yourself?

1. Geyser

Your geyser accounts for a fat 50% of your electricity bill. 9.25 kWh per hour feeds your geyser.

Cycling vigorously for 3 hours powers your geyser for 1 hour

2. Tumble Dryer

This appliance consumes a massive 3kWh per hour.

Doing laundry for 4 years powers your tumble dryer for 1 hour

3. Oven

Using your oven for an hour eats about 2.3kWh.

Chopping wood for 4 hours powers your oven for 1 hour

4. Air Conditioner

When using your aircon, bear in mind that it costs around 1.8kWh.

Taking a brisk walk around the earth powers your aircon for 1 hour

5. Swimming Pool Pump

Cleaning your pool accounts for 1.5kWh usage per hour.

Swimming 103 olympic pool laps powers your pool pump for 1 hour

6. Portable Heater

Winter is coming! To keep yourself warm with your portable heater, you’ll have to provide it with 1.5kWh every hour.

Shivering for 3 hours and 10 mins powers your portable heater for 1 hour

The next time you flip a switch, think about how much physical energy needs to be exerted to power the heaviest energy consumers in your home. Being more conscious about your energy usage is the easiest way to reduce your electricity bill. Power Yourself!


 

There are a combination of solutions available to power yourself through renewable energy. To discuss these with one of our energy consultants, get in touch! We would love to provide you with a custom cost and energy saving proposal – without a single obligation attached.

(Calculations were all made based on averages.)

Six of the most power-hungry home appliances

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

Powering your home is as simple as flicking a switch. It requires little to no effort from you to fill the tub with warm water, reheat a meal in the microwave or brew a steaming cup of coffee. But have you thought about how much energy some of the everyday appliances in your home are using?

We’ve identified the biggest villains in your home below:

(If kWh’s make no sense to you: have a look at this follow-up article on how much energy you need to burn to power these appliances listed below.)

1. Geyser

A geyser accounts for a fat 50% of the electricity bill in many households. It consumes about 9.25 kWh, which works out to 300 kW a month!

However, there are ways to ensure your geyser doesn’t chew up a huge chunk of your monthly budget. A solar water geyser or heat pumps are much leaner on energy, which makes them great alternatives to standard geysers. You could also try and use less warm water whenever you can, for example, by taking shorter showers. This means you’ll also be doing your bit for water conservation ?  .

2. Tumble Dryer

While it’s a lifesaver on rainy laundry days, your tumble dryer devours a whopping 3 kWh.

To save on electricity, it’s best to view your tumble dryer as something you should only indulge in on occasion. Only use it when you really have to and turn to the sun to curb its energy appetite: Only do laundry on sunny days or lighten the load with an efficient home solar energy solution.

3. Oven

On average, your oven uses about 2.3 kWh. 

Luckily, in sunny South Africa, we have been born and bred to enjoy cooking meals on fires. You now have an excuse to cook outside more often!

4. Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner works very hard to keep you cool, consuming around 1.8 kWh.

In summer, you should try to acclimatise yourself by using the aircon as little as possible. Studies also show that aircons can make you sick – don’t catch sick building syndrome!

5. Swimming Pool Pump

It takes a lot of time and energy to keep a pool crystal-clear. Take your pool pump: It consumes about 1.5 kWh.

Covering your swimming pool is not only a great way to save water, but it’ll help keep your pool clean and take some of the pressure off your pump.

6. Portable Heater

In winter, temperature control proves to be equally costly, with standard portable heaters consuming as much as 1.5 kWh. 

Snuggle up with a blanket instead. Cups of hot chocolate will also assist in building up a fat reserve to get you through the coldest nights!

Another all-round great electricity-saving alternative is to install a state-of-the-art home solar energy solution. That could amount to a saving of up to 70% on your monthly electricity bill.

Want to know how hard you’d have to work to power each of the appliances above? Read our follow up article!

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4 Reasons To Go Solar

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

When it comes to affordable renewable energy (or energy in general), solar certainly stands out as one of the best solutions. It’s clean, efficient and above all – infinite. Here in South Africa, it makes sense to switch to solar quite simply because we have plenty of sun to go around. Most areas in the country average over 2 500 hours of sunshine per year, which is among the highest in the world. Here are four reasons to go solar:

1. Save money from day one

Going solar is as good for your pocket as it is for the planet. With a proper home solar solution, you could save up to 70% on your monthly electricity bill. This means you can save between R50 to R70 a day in peak summer. That’s about R2 000 a month, or R24 000 a year. (This is dependent on the size of your electricity bill and how much roof space you have available).

What solar saves you on your electricity bill, will add up and ultimately cover the cost of the installation. In fact, a carefully planned and designed home solar energy solution could pay for itself within five years.

2. Eskom is not future proof

During loadshedding we all experienced Eskom’s lack of planning, which became even more evident in 2016 when it emerged that their Ingula pumped storage scheme came in well over budget. Recently, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa granted Eskom a 9.4% tariff increase for the 2016/17 financial year. This is way above inflation, which sat between 4% and 7% in 2016. It’s just another example of Eskom’s failure to think ahead.

Their lack of planning, together with their spiraling debt (which will ultimately reflect on consumers’ pockets) do little to restore faith in the unpopular utility. So it seems that, when it comes to reliable sources of energy, it would be wise to hedge your bets and not bank it all on Eskom. By going solar you can ensure you have an efficient energy solution when the grid lets you down.

3. It’s good for the environment

Many people consider going off the grid – meaning, break their ties with Eskom – because they’re concerned about the detrimental effects of coal-fired power stations on the environment. We all have a responsibility to preserve our ecosystems and precious natural resources. The future of our planet depends on it! Solar power has zero impact on the environment and is therefore a great option for the environmentally conscious.

Unfortunately, going off the grid is not really the most practical and financially viable solution. For example, although solar is becoming more and more affordable, the amount of solar PV panels and storage batteries you would need to completely power your home, will carry a hefty price tag. The smart financial choice is to minimise your carbon footprint instead of trying to erase it. You can stay on the grid and tap into it when you need to.

4. It’s very accessible

Solar is easier to install and much more affordable than you might think. It’s up to you how far you want to go, since a good home energy solution should be highly modular. You can start small and build up to a full home energy solution.

For example, you could start by replacing your traditional downlights with energy-efficient LEDs. Then, you could consider installing a heat pump or a solar geyser. These are great energy-saving alternatives to regular geysers, which account for the bulk of the electricity bill in many households. These are just two small, affordable adjustments that could make a big difference to your electricity spend.

When you’re ready to make a larger investment in powering yourself, you could acquire a more robust solution. This solution will generate and store enough energy to fully power your home for longer periods of time. Want to start saving from day one and pay as little as possible upfront? Lease a solar energy system from Energy Partners Home Solutions. We’ll maintain the system for you, while you enjoy all of the advantages of generating your own power.


Want to discuss your different options? Contact us for a free consultation by one of our energy experts and to find out more about our solar financing solutions.

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Medupi power station ready to go

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On December 23, 2016, The New Age Online newspaper released an article featuring our spokesperson, Alan Matthews. The article states that the dark days for South Africa’s economy are finally over as the second unit (Unit 5) of Eskom’s new Medupi  power station will be fully operational, suggesting that the local economy is more than ready for this year.

The power utility said that Medupi power station is now closer to commercial operation and this is a significant achievement since its successful synchronisation in September 2016. This will particularly boost heavy industries and small businesses, which were hit hard by load shedding in the past two years, leading to an economic slowdown.

Analysts said this is good news for such a major boost before the start of the new year, and that going forward the country can expect manufacturing and mining output to increase after suffering heavy losses in the last two years.

Medupi power station is a greenfield coal-fired dry-cooled base load station comprising six units rated at 4 800MW installed capacity and it will be the fourth-largest coal-fired plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. Some industry analysts said given the latest improved business leading indicator published by the Reserve Bank this week, which showed economic improvement for the next six months, the synchronisation of 796MW into the grid will boost the country’s energy and ignite the economy.

Phanuel Rapule, an independent economist, said it was evident that SA was becoming more energy efficient and there is no doubt that the local economic growth will somehow improve and consumer confidence will be restored. “Power is the key economic driver anywhere in the world. That means the dark days are over, our local energy problems are vastly disappearing and this could be the start of good things to come,” he said. The South African Chamber of Business (Sacci) also welcomed the move and that business had been proactive in seeking solutions to the energy crisis.

Alan Matthews, spokesperson for Energy Partners, said electricity costs are still on the rise and Energy Partners’ research said there will be above inflation increases in tariffs for at least the next three years. “Consumers must make sure they switch off their appliances while they are away.

Read full article here.