Enter a New Eskom-Free Era

Enter a New Eskom-Free Era

In light of recently re-introduced load shedding in Cape Town, many in both the private and the public sector are discussing the crumbling infrastructure at Eskom. Considering the extent of Eskom’s problems, even the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is now saying that businesses need to make an urgent plan to become more self-reliant and, thus, free from the grid. As of this week, The City of Cape Town went to court to get around Eskom’s petulant control and be allowed to buy electricity directly from independent power producers.

Eskom’s extent of problems includes but are not limited to the coal supply and the lack of maintenance on its power plants. Further, the location of the plants requires a certain amount of time and money for the delivery of coal. This is inevitably costing money that Eskom doesn’t have, the result putting the burden on the people and businesses when we are forced to experience load shedding. Despite this positive move made by the City of Cape Town, businesses still need to take the initiative to become self-reliant when it comes to their energy needs, and fortunately, with the rise in renewable energy solutions, that is becoming more and more possible to do.

Benefits of Grid-tied Solar Solutions

For sites connected to the national grid, power is supplied either through the national utility

or local municipalities, grid-tied solutions are an applicable solution. These sites typically

have high daytime power demands and are looking to supplement their energy supply with

rooftop solar solutions, thereby offsetting a large portion of their monthly energy bill.

These systems can beat the grid energy rate and are typically installed on the roof.

As well as saving on energy costs, they add significant value to the property from a

landlord’s perspective.

  1. Sustainable Business Practices

Businesses these days are aiming to have a minimal negative impact on the environment, community, society, and economy. Incorporating principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions is becoming a top priority for businesses across the board.

  1. Reduced Operational Expenses

Businesses often work on tight margins. As a result, small business owners are always looking for ways to reduce their operating costs without sacrificing the quality of their offering or making the lives of their employees more difficult. Sunlight is FREE — it is wise to capture it to make it payback.

  1. Increased Asset Value

In an increasingly competitive property market, commercial buildings with lower operational costs outpace their neighbours on asset value. By significantly reducing utility costs, upgrades like solar energy systems result in dramatically increased ROI and drive new cash flows that are capitalized into asset value.

  1. Energy Independence

The simplest and most effective way to gain some energy independence is to install solar PV. You will generate your own power and export the excess to the grid (where allowed); for which you will receive a credit. Apart from simple scheduled maintenance, there is nothing to check or worry about – simply enjoy your reduced power

Sites That Can Benefit from Grid-Tied Systems

  1. Shopping and retail spaces

Large energy consumers, shopping malls function for 12 hours a day or more, are typically fully air conditioned, and feature a great deal of lighting. Ample rooftop space makes them ideal candidates for solar power.

  1. Manufacturing / industrial sites

Solar power systems will reduce or even eliminate your building’s electricity bill. For big and small businesses, this money savings can have a tremendous impact.

  1. Hospitals

As intensive energy users, hospitals have a high demand for 24/7 energy. This requires a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective source of power which can be achieved by a grid-tied system.

  1. Colleges

Tertiary education facilities are excellent candidates for solar conversion, particularly large campuses spread out over a wide geographic area. Solar can easily offset monthly utility bills and it may even be possible to switch to 100% renewable energy.

  1. Agriculture

Every type of farm involves many energy-intensive practices. Putting the sun to work makes sense as a practical solution to lowering farming energy use and expense.

The fact of the matter is that, not only does the supply of energy need to be privatised in order to make it more affordable and readily available, but businesses need to take their own initiative to get off the grid and potentially even supply back to the grid. Businesses that use grid-tied solar solutions will not only begin to lessen their need for Eskom, but they would eliminate transmission costs and the related environmental impact. Further, the cost of batteries as a back-up solution are becoming more affordable as demands increase. This makes the potential for off-grid electricity and full freedom from Eskom’s unpredictable and astronomically rising tariffs to become much more common in the years to come.


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