Solar energy has exploded over the last decade with the cost of solar panels decreasing, making solar more affordable than ever. Many homeowners have already invested in this to make their homes more environmentally friendly and sustainable, but if you are still investigating the options available to you, this article could assist you in taking that final step towards sustainable living.
“Whether you go completely off-grid or simply supplement your household energy intake with a smaller system it will already be the start to increasing your property value. The primary investment of solar power is often enough to scare one off, however the payback period of your investment, and future rewards, make solar power affordable to most homeowners” comments Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
What is solar power?
Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaic (PV), indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination of both. It’s renewable, and can be used in a variety of ways to sustainably fuel homes, producing hot water and electricity.
Why consider solar power?
Solar systems require very little maintenance and you could end up saving up to 60% -80% on your electricity bill, depending on the size of your home and what kind of solar energy system you install. Whether you build a new energy efficient house or upgrade your existing one, solar technology will definitely add to the value of your property.
How solar works?
Some solar electric systems will use batteries to store the unused electricity.
Solar energy systems can be quite expensive when it comes to installation. The size of your home as well as the amount of work that is involved for installation will determine the cost. The costs are decreasing as new technology is introduced for more efficient solar energy generation.
Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales, Energy Partners Home Solutions highlights the main pricing categories as follows:
Some suppliers are approved credit providers and offer financing options for homeowners. Energy Partners has also developed a long term lease model, where the client can simply lease the system instead of having to pay for it upfront.
Where should one start?
Installing a solar system is not just a matter of putting up a few panels and adding a few batteries, there is no standard system, each system has to be correctly sized to suit the requirements of each home. Make sure the company you are dealing with is an established company with a good reputation and can provide the correct advice and service backup.
When investing in solar technology, it is important to prioritise, reducing your heaviest loads first, as this will deliver the greatest savings:
Until a few years ago solar panels were a scarce sight and largely limited to the roofs of affluent households. This has changed rapidly in the last ten years; the specific development in solar energy has seen the sharp drop in prices and an increase in technological advances in solar technologies and in power storage.
According to Cala van der Westhuizen from Energy Partners Home Solutions, solar panels are currently at the top of their game. Storage is improving constantly and lithium ion batteries are currently the preferred technology with many other technologies in battery storage being developed. Another exciting product that has been introduced is a DC element and solar PV conversion that can be applied to your current geyser.
As technology improves, the cost of the technology will decrease and investment recovery periods for the solar equipment and devices will become much shorter.
The sun is an unbeatable source of renewable energy, providing us with more energy in a single hour than the world's population uses in one year, if you are looking for ways to boost sustainability in your home, having solar power is key. As electricity prices soar and the cost of solar power installation decline, a renewable energy investment is increasingly looking like a smart choice for all homeowners.