Ever wondered what going solar is really all about? We answer your questions below… Transcript from Pick n Pay
We chat to Richard Jamieson, managing director of Yes Solar, one of South Africa’s leading solar energy companies, to find out all the answers to our solar questions.
1. Why is solar power better than regular electricity?
Bottom line, you’re using a source of power that is 100% renewable. You’re not ‘using up’ the sun by putting a panel on your roof. Next most important thing is that it’s clean. Sure, the panel requires energy and materials to make, but after that you don’t produce any greenhouse gasses or other waste products when using solar.
2. Isn’t it very expensive to install?
The upfront cost is high, but the real number to look at is your payback period. This is how long it takes for your savings to add up to the upfront cost. Solar water heating systems, if correctly sized, pay for themselves in 3 to 4 years. This is much less than it used to be, thanks to higher electricity prices and to the Eskom rebate.
3. Is it true that Eskom offers a rebate?
Eskom has something called a Demand Side Management programme, and one of the initiatives of that programme is to offer a rebate to people who buy solar water heaters. The rebate is a cash amount which is paid out within eight weeks of installation. The process is managed by Deloitte. Rebates can be anywhere between R3000 and R13000, depending on the size and efficiency of your system.
4. Isn’t solar power only for hippies?
This might have been true in the past, but these days solar power is for people who want to save themselves money, and for people who want to be less dependent on Eskom, and for people who want to reduce their own carbon footprint. If you rely on Eskom in SA your carbon footprint is big, because they’re so reliant on coal to produce the electricity we all use.
5. How much money could potentially be saved by going solar?
This depends on a number of factors – mainly how many people in your home use hot water and what their water usage habits are. Somewhere between R200 and R400 a month for 2-5 people living together with fairly normal water usage habits.
6. What if it’s cloudy all month and there’s no sun?
Every system we install has electrical backup. A timer/controller on the unit makes sure that hot water when you need it by activating the element (if solar alone is not getting the water hot enough).
7. How reliable is it?
Reliability is a key factor when making a purchasing decision. You’re buying something that should last you twenty years, so choose carefully and don’t go for the cheapest option. Choosing a company that is going to provide good backup service is also important. Look for a supplier that has SABS mark approval.
8. How does one go about getting it installed?
Call us and we will come round and do a site visit which will allow us to put together a solution (or range of solutions) that suit your home and your budget. If you decide to go ahead, installation takes roughly one day per geyser.