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We’re Taking A Roadtrip Into The Near Future With EVs

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It is no longer controversial to say that electric transport will be the dominant means of travel very soon. With the realisation of this possibility, the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), or notion at least, has enjoyed steady growth. In fact, according to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), by 2040, 33% of cars globally will be electric, as too will 54% of new car sales. The benefits of EVs are numerous and obvious, especially since petrol is not planet-friendly, nonrenewable and becoming increasingly more expensive.

Tesla

Tesla charging station

EVs now even enjoy the same superb performance statistics as many of the top combustion fired engines do: Tesla’s P100D can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.38 seconds. It is no wonder, then, that the defenders of our current reliance on nonrenewable energy are now most certainly in the minority.

 

The Nissan Leaf, for instance, a compact five-door hatchback, was the first ever all-electrical vehicle to go on sale in South Africa. It boasts an impressive range of about 195 km on a single charge, enough for the average weekly commute in a city environment. BMW currently has two options available in South Africa: the i3 and i8. While the i8 is a hybrid vehicle, meaning it uses both petrol and electricity, reaching a maximum range of 37 km on electricity alone, the i3 is all-electric and has a range of between 129 km to 161 km, depending on how efficiently you drive. There are many other models currently available and being developed.

 

Rising petrol prices are always a concern for South African drivers. Perhaps the most standout feature of EVs, is the fact that, when it comes to petrol, they offer a lower running cost.

 

Costs Graph

The graph compares the cost of driving a Nissan Leaf compared to a petrol-fuelled and a hybrid model respectively. It is based on a petrol price of R13 per liter and an electricity cost of R1.19 per kWh.

 

All of these benefits considered: Why are only a handful of South Africans driving EVs?

 

Implementation speed bumps in South Africa.

In South Africa there are a few barriers to adoption, including the lack of infrastructure, vehicle range and the current cost. And so there are indeed the nay-sayers, yet the demand for EVs in South Africa, according to a poll conducted by Wheels 24, looks very promising, with most respondents saying they would consider purchasing one. In this same survey, however, consumers also expressed concern about the range of EVs, although this would just be a symptom of an altogether different problem. Many EVs have actually got very reasonable ranges, depending on how you use them; in city driving conditions (the most conducive to efficiency) many EVs can provide a range of between 129-195 km.

 

However, were South Africa even to develop the necessary charge infrastructure, the power being used would have to come from the grid—a resource already under considerable strain. And as the price of these vehicles drop, and the adoption begins to uptick, so too would demand on the grid. This would result in a situation currently developing elsewhere, with cost fluctuations incentivising off-peak charging to better meet this increased demand. Charging your EV from the grid at a charge station, or even from home, would become increasingly expensive during peak hours. The BNEF study notes that, with the 8 million barrels per day displacement that EVs will cause by 2040, comes a 5% increase in demand for grid provided electricity. The first reaction to this problem might be to charge your EV off-peak, but an even more effective response would be to charge off-grid entirely—preferably at no cost to you, such as would be the case when using a home PV solar system. Elon Musk’s master plan (to be discussed later) actually foresees just such a future.

 

Cost is likely one of the bigger barriers to adoption. On the budget-conscious side of the spectrum, the Nissan Leaf will set you back about R450 000, which is by no means “cheap”. On the price-is-no-obstacle side, you have the BMW i8, starting at R1 755 000, which, even for a supercar, is pretty pricey. But these are early days yet, and as the technology advances and production costs decrease, we will begin to see these prices reach levels that the average consumer would consider reasonable. Tesla’s (who unfortunately has yet to export its models to SA) Elon Musk calls this the master plan part deux: producing high-cost, high-performance, but ultimately low-volume EVs, which would cover the cost of the R&D, with the end of producing an incrementally more affordable, and therefore high-volume unit for a broader market. It has even been suggested that EVs will reach unsubsidised parity with traditional, internal combustion engine cars by 2029.

 

BMWi8

A BMW i8

 

Solar at home paves the way.

Installing a solar PV system at home would dramatically increase the attractiveness of owning an EV. As your savings on both the cost of fuel and grid electricity accumulate, your investment in this technology will begin generating a handsome return.

 

The graph below is a highly simplified comparison between the cost of driving a solar-powered Nissan Leaf EV with driving a petrol-powered Polo 1.4 Trendline over a period of 15 years. The cost of powering the EV with PV stays constant over the 15-year period, while it gets increasingly more expensive to drive the fossil fuel-dependent vehicle. This is because, unlike petrol, the energy generated by a solar PV system is free.

 

Cost Comparison

Source: Energy Partners Home Solutions

 

According to an article that appeared on Wheels24, experts predict that by 2025, petrol-powered vehicles and EVs will cost the same. This means that, soon, there will be even more incentive to go the EV route.

 

We all know that a car is not an investment, and that it actually depreciates in value, but with this generous return in savings with home solar PVs, can EVs be described as another beast altogether? It certainly seems that way.

SACS Invests In Renewable Energy System

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South Africa College High School (SACS) in Cape Town has made a commitment to clean energy by installing a solar system at its Rosedale Boarding House. The solar system was installed by Energy Partners Home Solutions, part of the PSG group of companies.

Barry van Selm, Deputy Headmaster at SACS explains that installing a solar system at the school was an easy choice. “SACS has become very aware of its carbon footprint, so a renewable energy option was important to us. In the past five years we have also seen huge increases in electricity tariffs so we needed to find a sustainable way of bringing those costs down.”

According to Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, schools like SACS, with boarding houses and plenty of activity over weekends and holidays, are the perfect place to install solar systems as these types of properties consume most of their energy during the day’s peak solar hours, and can therefore maximise the financial benefits of a renewable energy solution.

He says that the Energy Partners team achieved some interesting results while still working within the parameters that were set by SACS as well as regulatory requirements.

Van der Westhuizen explains that the Energy Partners’ team started off with an in-depth analysis into the requirements of the boarding house. “This involved taking the generation capacity that regulations would permit the team to install, into consideration.”

“According to our findings, we could install a 25 kilowatt inverter at the boarding house, which is the maximum size allowed under NRS regulations for the specific infrastructure of the site. With the actual solar array we had a bit more leeway, so we installed 30.88kWp of multicrystalline solar panels.”

This enables the system to produce at the converter’s maximum level for as long as possible during peak hours and also produce excess power that the school will be able to possibly sell back to the City of Cape Town, says van der Westhuizen.

Van Selm says that as part of the system, the school received a tracking tool that allows them to monitor the system in real time. “Being able to track the system’s energy production is very interesting and allows us to see the results. Our first electrical bill has not arrived yet, but based on what we have seen from the monitoring tool, our use of electricity from the grid has been cut by about one third which amounts to a saving of around R75 000 at the current electricity tariffs.”

“We are very excited about the results we have seen so far and looking forward to reducing our carbon footprint and electricity bills even further in the near future,” Van Selm concludes.

Seven Questions To Ask Before Choosing a Solar Solutions Supplier

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The rising cost of electricity and a global drive towards earth-friendly energy alternatives have meant that more and more people are interested in going solar. Which means that more and more solar solutions suppliers are springing up. With so many suppliers out there, how do you choose the right one? Here are seven questions you should ask before you decide:

1. Does the supplier have a proven track record and a solid reputation?

 

Solar Installation

Ensure your solar solutions supplier has the necessary experience and expertise.

 

The most important consideration when looking at Solar suppliers is to choose someone with a proven track record that shows they have the necessary experience and expertise to install reliable, efficient solar solutions.

Here, it is important to check that the supplier’s expertise lies specifically in solar energy. Your supplier should not only be up-to-date with the latest solar technologies, but they should have the experience of having completed numerous solar installations across a wide selection of residential challenges. Your solar solutions supplier should be able to show you examples of successful installations that they have done for other homeowners to give you an idea of the type of workmanship and service you can expect. In short, they should be able to provide references from satisfied homeowners.

Cala van der Westhuizen from Energy Partners Home Solutions, a leading energy solutions provider in South Africa that forms part of the PSG Group of companies, adds: “Find a supplier that has been in business for some time and runs a stable operation. Remember that the lifespan of an energy system is crucial to its value, which means that it should be producing electricity during the lifetime of the system. You should always ask yourself – will the supplier still be around in a couple of years?

No matter how big their business or how long they have been in the solar energy game, a supplier’s reputation always precedes them. This is why we advise you to always get

a third-party opinion. You can do this by looking up the supplier’s social media pages to see what people are posting about them on their wall or in the comments section. You can also search online for testimonials and reviews on sites like Hello Peter where the community rates and reviews suppliers. Lastly, if you see that your neighbours or friends have recently install a home solar system you should ask them what they thought of their supplier.

 

2. What is the return on investment?

 

Although solar technology is becoming increasingly more affordable, it could still be a costly exercise. That is why you should take into account whether the system you are thinking of installing will give you a good return on investment.

“A good home solar energy system can cut your electricity bill by as much as 70%. This means that on a R30 000 bill you can potentially save R20 000, depending on how much roof space you have available. So a proper solar solution should pay for itself with what it saves you on electricity. In fact, a carefully planned and designed solution could pay for itself within five years. Ask your supplier if they can make this promise,” says Van der Westhuizen.

If you are still in the planning stages of building your home and worried that a home solar energy system will drive up the price of your bond, keep in mind that the right home energy solution will save you more in electricity costs over the lifespan of the system than the increase in bond repayments. If you look at the below graph, it should give you a clear idea of the impact of a home energy system on a home loan payment over 20 years.

 

Repayment Graph

Solar savings tables provided by Energy Partners Home Solution.

 

3. Are the supplier’s systems regulation-compliant?

 

Solar energy systems have to comply with certain local regulations and most municipalities require that you apply for permission to connect your system to the grid, otherwise you risk facing harsh penalties or even having your system disconnected. Your solar solutions supplier should advise you on, or even manage, this process on your behalf to help you ensure your system is compliant. It has happened often at Energy Partners Home Solutions that new customers with existing systems discover that their original suppliers never registered their systems, and that when they want to confront them they are either unwilling to help or they have shut their doors on the business.

 

4. Is the supplier using the latest technology?

 

Solar technology is improving at a rapid pace to keep up with the fast-growing industry. It is therefore important that your solar solutions supplier is up to date with the latest technology and is able to provide you with the best possible solar solutions on the market.

Van der Westhuizen agrees: “At Energy Partners Home Solutions, for one, we are continuously searching for new ways to make our clients less dependent on grid-tied electricity and help them save even more money on their utility bills. For example, we developed our own hybrid inverter, the Icon™ home energy system. It not only works like a regular inverter, but can also integrate a home’s storage batteries and manage its hot water system to maximise savings. It is a first of its kind in South Africa.”

 

ICON

Energy Partners Home Solutions developed their own hybrid energy inverter – the Icon™ – to help homeowners maximise their electricity savings.

 

5. Are the supplier’s solutions right for you?

 

House

The size of the home is only one of the considerations when a solar solutions supplier assesses a homeowner’s energy requirements.

 

A good solar solutions supplier takes the individual needs of their customers into account and offers customised solutions that meet their unique home energy requirements. Before installing a solar system, the supplier should first do a thorough home energy assessment, taking into account factors such as the size of the home, number of family members and the area in which the home is located.

“No two clients are the same. When it comes to water heating, for example, Energy Partners Home Solutions will recommend a solution based on the amount of sunshine in your area, the warm water demand of the household and also what has already been installed. Based on these factors, we will find you the ideal solution for your household,” Van der Westhuizen explains.

 

6. Does the supplier take a holistic approach?

 

Your solar solutions supplier should be able to see the bigger picture when it comes to helping you save on electricity. They must be able to offer you more than solar PV and recommend additional other energy-efficient solutions.

Van der Westhuizen adds: “As much as 40% of the energy that traditional solar PV systems could generate is wasted, as it often goes unused. A smart system designer will make sure that the maximum amount of energy is produced smart design, optimised usage and efficient storage.

 

7. Does the supplier have foresight?

 

Your solar solutions supplier must be able to help you plan properly. When implementing a solar solution into a new home design, ensure they are capable of working with your architect and builder to understand your requirements and effectively incorporate the system in your project plan. The solar energy supplier should instruct your builder or electrician to install the required wiring as part of your renovation or building project to avoid extra costs later and to ensure a neat installation.

It is also important that your supplier understands which loads are essential to you during power outages and which loads are less essential. It is recommended that you instruct your electrician to split your electrical distribution board (DB) into essential and non-essential loads. Your prospective solar solutions supplier should be able to help you determine whether your electrical distribution board will be big enough to accommodate the extra equipment required for the solar PV and backup system you need, because it is difficult to expand your electrical distribution board at a later stage.

 

Ask the right questions

 

As you can tell from these seven questions, price should not be the only consideration when choosing a solar solutions supplier. Therefore, when you compare quotes from different suppliers, do not forget to also ask the right questions to ensure you receive the right energy solutions.


 

Read more about this in the press:

 

Property Wheel – Solar Solution Suppliers. The Seven Vital Questions To Ask.

Crown Publications – Seven questions to ask when choosing a solar solutions provider.

6 Ways To Slash Your Electricity Bill This Winter

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Property24 has published these 6 tips, click here to read the original article.

 

Even in a relatively warm country like South Africa, electricity usage skyrockets when winter comes around each year. In addition to this, electricity costs are still on the rise.

Luckily, there are quick, long-term energy saving solutions that homeowners can implement as we go into winter.

Homeowners can use their own discretion as to how much they want to save and invest in energy efficiency, but most will find that even small changes could make a noticeable difference this season.

Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, shares tips on how homeowners can save electricity this winter.

 

1  Mind the lights

LED Lights

One of the first things you can do is to replace all your conventional bulbs with highly efficient LED lighting. These typically require a tenth of the energy needed to power conventional bulbs.

Learning to better manage lighting can have a measurable effect on a household’s electricity spend. This is especially evident during winter, when the sun rises later and sets earlier.

One of the first things you can do is to replace all your conventional bulbs with highly efficient LED lighting. These typically require a tenth of the energy needed to power conventional bulbs.

Secondly, it is important to remember to only keep the lights on in the rooms that you use.

For those who are so inclined, take efficient lighting even further with intelligent circuits that automatically switch off lights in unused rooms.

2  Insulation is key

Double Glazing Windows

For the homeowner with money to invest, double glazing for windows and sliding doors is the next step.

Insulation is a low-cost measure with the biggest impact on reducing energy consumption.

Make sure that the home’s ceilings are properly insulated, and seal cracks or gaps in windowsills and door frames. For the homeowner with money to invest, double glazing for windows and sliding doors is the next step.

 

3  Heating water

Water heating accounts for over half of the average home’s electricity spend.

During winter, the amount of energy needed to heat water increases since regular geysers are not efficient at keeping heat from escaping.

Insulate exposed hot water pipes to reduce heat loss and turn down the geyser’s maximum temperature to 60 degrees celsius (from 50 degrees celsius in summer). This still provides enough hot water for the home, while using less energy.

You can stretch your savings even further by investing in a heat pump and hot water storage system. The system uses about a third of the total energy that would be used with a conventional geyser, and loses less than 3 degrees celsius during a 24-hour cycle even if placed outside.

The system can cut the home’s electricity costs by an estimated 50%.

 

4  Heating the home

Heaters account for a substantial portion of the home’s electricity spend. One of the quickest remedies is to replace all conventional heaters with wall heaters.

In a properly insulated home, these use significantly less energy while maintaining a comfortable temperature.

Installing a modern fireplace is also one of the best ways to quickly and cheaply heat a home.

 

5  Don’t forget your laundry

Laundry

It is best to view a dryer as something you should only indulge in on occasion. Try to only do laundry on sunny days or lighten the load with an energy efficient dryer.

A tumble dryer is often a lifesaver during winter, especially in areas with winter rainfall. However, running a dryer for two hours a day, five days a week adds another R240 to the average Pretoria or Cape Town home’s monthly electricity bill.

It is best to view a dryer as something you should only indulge in on occasion. Try to only do laundry on sunny days or lighten the load with an energy efficient dryer.

 

 

 

6  Go all out

ICON

A homeowner can opt for a complete integrated solution, like Energy Partners Home Solutions’ ICON Home Energy Hub and photovoltaic (PV) system. This can reduce a home’s yearly electricity costs by as much as 80%.

Finally, a homeowner can opt for a complete integrated solution, like Energy Partners Home Solutions’ ICON Home Energy Hub and photovoltaic (PV) system. This can reduce a home’s yearly electricity costs by as much as 80%.

While a complete system could cost upwards of R80 000, there are financing options available to bring these systems within the reach of qualifying homeowners.

With each passing winter becoming more and more expensive, homeowners need to adopt an energy-saving mindset at every available opportunity.

Nedbank Smart Living Solutions

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ENERGY PARTNERS AND NEDBANK PARTNER TO LAUNCH SMART LIVING SOLUTIONS INITIATIVE

 

Energy Partners Home Solutions, a division of Energy Partners, and part of the PSG group of companies, in collaboration with Nedbank, is offering an exclusive campaign aimed at Nedbank Home Loan clients.

 

Cala van der Westhuizen, Spokesperson for Energy Partners Home Solutions, says that the Smart Living Solutions initiative, which officially launched on the 15 May, enables qualifying Nedbank clients to invest in energy saving products for their homes. “The cost of the systems are added to clients’ existing home loans. This means homeowners can install renewable and energy saving systems without the need to first raise cash or undergo lengthy credit application procedures. In most cases, the cost saving will be more than the increase in their loan repayments.”

 

“Nedbank has been the most progressive bank when it comes to clean sustainable energy and we see this as another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to providing our clients with tangible solutions,” says Tim Akinnusi, Executive Head of Sales & Client management at Home Loans at Nedbank.

 

Akinnusi says “Nedbank Home Loans has gone beyond the sustainability agenda, to find innovative ways to help our clients save on their electricity bill in the short-term while investing in energy systems for long term value creation in their homes.”

 

Van der Westhuizen adds that South Africans will likely see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next few years. “That is why we advocate installing renewable solutions as soon as it is sensible to do so.”

 

Energy Partners has been one of South Africa’s top energy companies and has served many households with its Home Solutions Icon system. “We are excited about this venture and look forward to bringing state-of-the-art energy saving technology into the homes of the Nedbank Home Loan clients,” van der Westhuizen concludes.

High-tech thinking

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African Decisions has published an article on how recent advances in energy-efficient technologies mean more accessible and cost-effective alternatives for consumers of power. Energy Partners Home Solutions has been mentioned as one of these high-tech solutions:

Energy Partners Home Solutions provides a range of solar and energy saving solutions for the consumer market, including its ICON system, which incorporates energy efficiency, renewable generation and backup solutions to reduce a home’s reliance on grid power by more than 50%.

‘Our solution enables home owners to take control of their energy by supplying a set of reliable products that form a fully integrated home energy solution that combines lighting, water heating and renewable energy – all effortlessly managed and monitored from a simple app on your smartphone,’ he said.

Please click here to read the full article.

Energize eMagazine feature Gauteng opening

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Energize eMagazine has featured the opening of the Gauteng regional office. Energize is the independent power and energy journal of Southern Africa. Read the article below.

Energy Partners Home Solutions recently introduced its newly established Gauteng Division at the 2017 Homemakers Expo in Johannesburg. The company was launched in Cape Town last year and has a proven record of reducing electricity costs for homeowners.

It has fast become one of the leading residential and small commercial energy solutions companies in the greater Western Cape, and has already started installation at a few houses in the Gauteng area. The company provides a full range of solar and energy saving solutions for the consumer market, including the Energy Partners Home Solutions ICON system, which incorporates energy efficiency, renewable generation and backup solutions to reduce a home’s reliance on the grid by more than 50% and often up to 90%.

South Africa is one of the countries with the highest potential for solar energy generation in the world, with approximately 2500 hours of sunshine per year. Yet there is still a relatively small percentage of the country’s residents who are actually taking advantage of this low-cost alternative. In addition to their range of products and solutions, the company also offers various funding options for homeowners looking to reduce their energy spend.

Find the original article here.

Wimpie from Bok Radio saves with EPHS

By | Energy Partners Home Solutions Stories | No Comments

All across South Africa people rely on electricity every day – from making a morning cup of coffee, to cooking dinner. Therefore, when it comes to the rising cost of electricity year-on-year, the whole country is feeling the heat.

Exorbitant electricity tariffs are especially true for Western Cape Northern Suburbs residents.

 

As part of the City of Cape Town, these residents are paying one of the highest electricity tariffs in the country. When Energy Partners Home Solutions heard Bok Radio DJ, Wimpie van der Sandt, complaining about his hefty electricity bills, we stepped in to help.

Bok Radio Wimpie & Le-Lue

During the month of February 2017, we proved to Wimpie that an affordable, efficient, home energy solution could save him up to 70% on his electricity bill.

First, we sent one of our energy experts to Wimpie’s home to give him a free energy assessment. Everyone’s home and electricity needs are different – making each installation a custom exercise. That is why it was necessary to determine exactly what Wimpie’s requirements were, and pinpoint where the bulk of his electricity usage was coming from.

Basically, anything that warms up when you switch it on, is wasting energy.

 

In regular households with more than two members, the geyser is almost always the main culprit. It will account for more than 50% of the electricity use. This was no exception at Wimpie’s home.

The first thing we did was to replace Wimpie’s electric geyser with an energy-efficient water-heating system – comprising of a heat pump and an integrated water tank.

 

Heat Pump

We have run various trials, and if you take an annual look at efficient water heating, heat pumps make the most sense in the Western Cape if you have the capital available.

Lights are also heavy electricity users. Replacing yours with energy-efficient LEDs is another simple, affordable way to save on your monthly electricity bill. An energy-efficient LED light bulb will cost you less than R100, but could save you ten times that in the long run.

Energy Partners Home Solutions also installed solar PV and our state-of-the-art Icon™ home energy system.

ICON Energy System

Solar PV puts the sun to work and enables Wimpie to generate his own electricity, while the Icon™ inverter and battery combo stores energy for use at night, and on cloudy days.

 

Solar PV Panels

We checked in with Wimpie a month after the installation.

After checking his monitoring app installed on his phone, he was able to confirm that he had already saved R1 600 in the short month of February.

 

Depending on the size of your home and your energy requirements, you don’t need a large, expensive solution to enjoy big electricity savings. You can start small, and add different components as you start saving on your bills. Your solar energy investment will also increasing the value of your property.

To save on your electricity bill like Wimpie, get in touch for a free home energy assessment.

Want to win a cash prize as big as Wimpie’s electricity saving in March 2017?

Stay tuned to Bok Radio and guess how much energy Wimpie is going to save during the month of March 2017. SMS your answer, name and email address to 45989. The first person with the closest correct guess, will walk away with the same amount of cash Wimpie ends up saving on electricity in March. Entries close 31 March 2017 (T’s and C’s apply).

Businesses urged to find alternative energy sources

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On February 2, 2017, ENCA released a video featuring Alan Matthews, Head of Energy Partners Home Solutions. Matthews discusses why business owners will have to find alternative energy sources.

Click here to view original video on ENCA.