How much it will cost to beat load-shedding with solar panels

Eskom recently restarted its practice of load-shedding, regularly cutting power in certain areas to prevent a total failure of South Africa’s electric grid.

This is in addition to its use of “load reduction” in areas where Eskom states that a high prevalence of illegal connections threatens to overload its infrastructure.

Experts predict that South Africans should brace for many more years of rotational blackouts in the country.

The CSIR recently published a presentation which said South Africans should expect load-shedding to get significantly worse over the next three years.

Energy expert Ted Blom agreed with the CSIR’s findings and added that his own projections extend to load-shedding for at least the next five years.

Blom said that the predictions could change if Eskom decided to start importing extra power from power barges or new power islands.

With the return of load-shedding, South Africans are once again looking for ways to ensure that they are able to remain productive or stay entertained during periods of power outages.

There are several strategies to do this, each with a variety of options at different price points.

For a relatively cheap solution, you can opt to use mainly battery-powered devices like smartphones and laptops, a gas cooker, and a basic uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and battery system to keep important electronics such as your Internet router powered for a few hours.

Another option is a petrol or diesel generator which can range from around R1,500 to several thousand rand.

If you don’t want to burn petrol or diesel every time the power goes out, then more advanced backup power systems with a UPS, inverter, and batteries may be the answer. You can also choose to keep these charged using solar power rather than relying on Eskom.

Such a system can range in price from R5,500 to over R300,000.

MyBroadband recently asked industrial electrical and automation distributor Rubicon for examples of the range of backup power systems, ranging from a basic load-shedding kit to off-grid systems that can break your reliance on Eskom entirely.

Rubicon emphasised that every home and site is different, and installers must confirm a detailed list of components following a site visit.

Synapse load-shedding kit – R7,555

This system will keep your Wi-Fi and LED TV powered, your cellphone and laptop charged, and an LED lamp burning during load-shedding.

It consists of:

  • Inverter: Synapse 600 or 1,000W (12/24Vdc)
  • Battery: 100Ah deep cycle 12Vdc
  • Cabinet

Synapse 5kW solar system – R88,895

This kit includes:

  • Inverter: Synapse 5.0K+ 48Vdc
  • Modules: 12× Canadian Solar Range (400W HiKU models)
  • Batteries: 3× Synapse, 2.4kWh each

Delta E5 hybrid system – R119,499

This system features:

  • Inverter & battery: Delta E5 hybrid kit all-in-one with 6kWh battery
  • Modules: 16× Canadian Solar Range (400W HiKU models); will produce 6.4kWp energy for home use.

Tesla Powerwall – R223,450

The Tesla Powerwall kit includes a 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 and an optional GoodWe 5kW grid-tied system.

Now read: How much you will pay to cancel Eskom and go off-grid

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How much it will cost to beat load-shedding with solar panels