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solar panels Archives - EP Home Solutions

How commercial property projects can avoid fluctuating price of solar installation

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The cost of installing photovoltaic (PV) systems could rise in the fourth quarter (Q4) of this year, according to Charl du Plessis, Head of Project Development at EP Solar, a division of Energy Partners and part of the PSG group of companies.

He says the cost of solar panels will increase by about 7% in Q4 of 2017, as a result of the increase in the demand for PV systems worldwide. “This will effectively increase the cost of constructing a commercial 1MW PV installation in Q4 of this year by around R680 000.”

The price increase is temporary, with costs expected to equalise by the first and second quarters of 2018. “However, it is not realistic for commercial projects to wait for temporary price spikes like this to pass before commissioning a new PV system.”

Installing PV systems are still valuable as the overall trend in the cost of solar has been downward, he says. “Ten years ago the average payback period of a commercial rooftop PV system was around seven years. It is now very common to see payback periods of under five years.”

Du Plessis explains that commercial solar in South Africa has shown an increased interest from the property market, with especially large property groups actively searching for alternative energy solutions. “It is also interesting to see that the knowledge and understanding around solar technology has definitely increased in this market. Many of the clients that approach us for alternative energy solutions have done their homework and know exactly what they are looking for in terms of capacity and performance.”

According to Du Plessis, it is vital for players in the commercial market to have access to the most cost-effective PV solutions when they need them and not have to stall projects because the price is too high. “A 7% price increase, like we are seeing in the cost of solar, absolutely affects the payback period of a system, but one cannot delay an entire construction project by three to six months as a result of it. Partnering with large solar providers that manage their logistics and warehousing in-house, is therefore paramount,” he says.

Du Plessis explains that established solar technology providers and installers are capable of absorbing temporary price hikes more effectively. “A technology provider needs to have enough stock in-house, and optimised procurement procedures such as off-take agreements with preferred suppliers in place, in order to reduce the impact of temporary price spikes.”

EP Solar has not only taken its logistics and warehousing functions in-house for this reason, but the company also manages its own installation, he says.

“It is important to understand that the quality of installation is the one aspect that sets solar providers apart more than any other. Having the highest quality Tier 1 PV systems installed by contractors that do not do the job right diminishes the effectiveness of the entire system. Every part of an installation, from the bend radiuses of power cables, to the planning of maintenance walkways all play a massive part throughout the lifetime of the installed system.” Du Plessis concludes.

 

Click here to read the full article on SA Property Insider.

Wimpie from Bok Radio saves with EPHS

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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).

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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SABC Digital News – Saving electricity during the festive season

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On December 21, 2016, Alan Matthews (head of Energy Partners Home Solutions) discussed how holiday makers can save money on their electricity bills by switching off all appliances when leaving the house. Listen in on the interview to learn energy saving ideas which can be implemented throughout the entire year. We hope to make consumers more aware of their day-to-day energy consumption and give you more insight on energy saving.

Do not just change your mind-set over festive seasons but also for the future, as South Africans should brace themselves for a possible inflation increase in electricity tariffs over the next three years.

Energy Forecast Online – Going 50% off-grid is better than 100%

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Our marketing manager, Cala van der Westhuizen, spoke to Energy Forecast Online on December 5th, 2016. Van der Westhuizen spoke about alternative energy solutions and how these alternatives are becoming increasingly affordable, however, powering a home completely from renewable sources is still prohibitively expensive. To read the full article, read here.

South Africa is likely to see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next eight years, with some conservative estimates placing the rise in tariffs at between 6% and 8% year-on-year.

This figure could be as high as 13% if carbon taxes are imposed, and even higher should the 300% increase over the past three years be any indication.

This news is driving some consumers to seriously consider taking their homes completely off-grid.

Van der Westhuizen notes however that smaller scale solutions could provide significantly more benefits than a fully off-grid option.

Achieving the optimal 60% to 70% electricity independence, according to Van der Westhuizen, starts with replacing some of the home’s heaviest electricity users with more efficient solutions.

“When it comes to lighting, LEDs are great replacements for traditional downlights, as they save far more electricity in the long run. Geysers account for as much as half of the electricity bill in many households, with large unnecessary energy wastage. This can be mitigated by a highly efficient heat pump or, in certain cases, solar geysers. Even these simple, affordable solutions can make a big difference,” he says.

Van der Westhuizen states that the next step is to install solar PV panels and a battery or inverter system. He notes that these are extremely effective in generating and storing energy.

“Energy Partners Home Solutions’ integrated home energy systems is a full solution, designed to reduce a home’s monthly electricity spend by around 70%. With a carefully planned and designed solution, the cost of the system’s installation could easily be recovered in five years,” he adds.


 

If you are interested in saving energy, please contact us.

The Real Cost of Being Off the Grid

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Want to be off-grid? Are you sitting down?

Recently, Eskom once again demonstrated their lack of planning when it came to light that their Ingula pumped storage scheme is delayed and already well over budget, with costs spiraling from R8.9bn to R36bn. These costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers. Whenever we’re faced with an unnecessarily high electricity bill, or huddled together by candlelight due to another bout of loadshedding, it’s easy to whisper through clenched teeth: “I want to be off the grid.” While it might sound especially tempting when you’re feeling the strain on your budget or plunged in darkness, it’s not actually the cheapest solution. Here’s why:
It’s true that home solar energy solutions are becoming more and more affordable.

But the massive amount of solar panels and storage batteries you would need to power your home 100% independently, will come at a steep price.

In smaller systems, the panels and inverter account for the majority of the costs, while with off-grid systems, the cost of the batteries becomes the major component.

Here’s the catch: panels and inverters are designed to last 20 or 10 years respectively. Unfortunately lead-based batteries, which are commonly used for off-grid solutions, only have a typically lifespan of three to five years.

That means that you are not getting a permanent solution, but rather one where the bulk of the investment will need to be replaced regularly.
We’ve crunched some numbers and found that costs increase sharply after 70% grid independence, as detailed below:

off-grid_graph

The optimal home solution sits at around 60% -70% energy-independency when you consider the amount of energy created, versus the cost to do so.

There are, however, ways to mitigate the costs involved with being off-grid and going predominantly solar. A back-up generator is a good idea for times when the sun is in hiding (although probably not the best option if living green is your primary motivation for grid independence). Then, quite simply, by using energy sparingly – especially in winter.
Our best advice is to be an educated buyer, as too many suppliers promise returns without considering your home’s unique features and setting.

Transparency is essential to building a renewable energy culture in South Africa. This is why we’re dedicated to bust any solar myths floating around, and tailor our renewable energy solutions to each home we visit*.

*Consultations are free, with our quotes obligation free as well. Possibly the best small print ever? Let’s chat!

CNBC Africa Power Lunch

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Allan Matthews, our managing director, spoke to CNBC Africa in April 2016.

Solar PV installations should be fully considered by homeowners, to receive the energy returns expected. Partnering solar panels with inverters to create usable energy, as well as batteries to store excess, is the best solution. They also discuss the possibility of feeding back excess energy into the grid. Energy Partners Home Solutions offer a full home energy analysis, with an holistic approach. Get in touch to discuss alternatives for your home.