The past year has been a watershed moment for South Africa’s energy landscape. The gloom of 2023 cast a shadow not just on our daily lives, but also on our national psyche. Recent data indicates that load shedding has reached the milestone of being double that of 2022, when measured in Gigawatt hours. This is a measurement of the volume of electricity. The comparison to previous years indicates a worrying trend of exponentially increasing load shedding, as demonstrated in the graph below:
The shocking surge in load shedding during 2023 set an unfortunate benchmark. However, a transient relief was felt in the last two months, primarily thanks to two coal power generating units coming online at the Kusile power station. A downturn in industrial demands and many South Africans’ shift towards energy independence with solar rooftop PV installations, further aided the cause.
Yet, as the euphoria of the rugby world cup ebbs, the familiar load shedding fiend reared its head once more. Energy Expert Matthew Cruise says the sobering reality is that with the aged Eskom coal fleet is gradually deteriorating and with the recent revelation of transmission grid constraints, load shedding is expected to remain with us over the next 5 years. Addressing the grid issue demands both time and money, with estimates spanning 5-8 years and a staggering R500bn, says Cruise.
Further unsettling insights emerge as we delve into Eskom’s financials. With a net loss of R23.9 billion as of March 2023, the financial abyss seems to be deepening, with further losses anticipated in the coming fiscal year. Even the 18.65% hike in electricity prices that took place this year is projected to not be enough to reduce losses for this financial year, underscoring Eskom’s inefficiency.
In this labyrinth of power uncertainty, one path out shines bright – solar energy. Bringing with it the promise of uninterrupted clean energy from the sun and respite from ever increasing electricity tariffs. As Eskom struggles to free itself from the quagmire, solar emerges as a beacon of hope. November heralds the beginning of festive frenzy and with it, enticing Black Friday solar specials from the leading players in the market.
But how does one pick the best deal amidst the flurry of offers? Here are some handy tips to help you navigate solar special offers this November:
- Trust the Tried and Tested
In the burgeoning solar market, reputation is paramount. Choose a company that’s not just a fleeting presence but one that is with you for the long haul. Partnerships with renowned brands and commendable online reviews (like those on HelloPeter or Google business reviews) can be tell-tale signs of a company’s credibility. After all, solar is a long-term investment, and you don’t want to be left in the lurch post-installation.
- Longevity Over Immediate Lure
It’s wise to explore various options, as numerous companies will roll out special promotions during this festive period. Evaluating deals on their prolonged benefits is crucial; some deals deliver advantages spanning several years. Take, for instance, Hohm Energy’s Black Friday offer on their subscription service. Not only is December complimentary, but they’re also offering payment breaks every December for the ensuing five years. Additionally, with the initiation and maintenance fee completely waived, customers can enjoy a cost-free experience this holiday season and beyond. This unique offer not only provides immediate relief but also aids in financial planning for the upcoming festive seasons
- Dive into the Fine Print
The devil is often in the details. While rental solar services seem appealing, it’s vital to understand their full spectrum. Maintenance and insurance provisions can vary between the market players. While some subscription providers include maintenance in their monthly cost, some others place the onus on the consumer to maintain the system at their own expense. Understand the insurance nuances too. Would the system’s value need to be added to your household insurance, or is it already incorporated in the offering?
As the festive season dawns, let the spirit of prudence guide your solar decisions. With solar installation wait times now a thing of the past, there’s no better moment to stride confidently towards clean energy independence. So, this Black Friday, as you comb through solar specials, remember, it’s not just about saving pennies but securing power for posterity.