How to be load-shedding free for R32,000

South Africans can escape load-shedding for R32,000 with a battery backup and inverter system, including installation, depending on their power usage.

MyBroadband calculated how much it would cost to buy and install battery backup and inverter systems of various capacities in South Africa.

Last year was by far South Africa’s worst year of load-shedding yet, and the rotational power cuts kicked off again in early January 2024 following a long break over the December holidays.

There are mixed opinions about what to expect regarding load-shedding this year, with energy experts saying it will be less intense or the same as last year.

Eskom’s system status outlook from 1 January 2024 to 6 January 2025 showed that it expected to be unable to meet electricity demand this year, with a shortage of at least 2,001MW for all 52 weeks.

That means the utility anticipates it will need to implement at least stage 2 load-shedding at some point during each week.

However, energy expert Chris Yelland told MyBroadband that the contribution of the new capacity expected to come online in 2024 could brighten this outlook.

Another energy expert — Hohm Energy’s Matthew Cruise — said he expects load-shedding this year to be similar to what was experienced in 2023.

Regardless, Eskom’s rotational power cuts are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, with the Department of Mineral Resource and Energy’s proposed Integrated Resouce Plan indicating that it will last until at least 2027.

For those hoping to escape the effects of load-shedding, one of the most affordable battery backup and inverter systems that can provide sufficient power to last through a bout of power cuts costs R32,000.

Affordable battery backup and inverter installations

Before deciding which inverter and battery combination to buy, measuring how much power you use is essential.

This can be done using a digital power meter (watt meter) and connecting it to the electrical equipment you wish to run during an Eskom power cut.

Alternatively, you can estimate your usage by looking at the wattage of each appliance or device and multiplying it by how long a bout of load-shedding lasts.

For example, those wanting to use their fibre, a TV, a streaming device, a desktop PC, and a few lights can expect to use approximately 222W of power simultaneously.

Over a two-and-a-half-hour load-shedding session, this works out to approximately 555Wh. A similar setup will use about 999Wh in higher stages with four-and-a-half-hour sessions.

It is best to overestimate your usage slightly to allow for variances in your power usage.

However, affordable battery backup and inverter installations can power more than just a few devices.

Depending on the specifications you decide on and your power usage, such a setup can power all the lights in your household, some household appliances, and all the devices mentioned above.

It should be noted that appliances with elements, such as electric stoves, ovens, or kettles, are considered power-hungry, and it might not be possible to power them with your battery and inverter backup.

An alternative option is to get a power trolley, essentially an inverter and battery setup packed into a portable form.

These setups are more affordable as they don’t require installation. For example, an inverter trolley with a 3kW Axpert inverter and 5,120Wh of lithium-ion battery capacity from GeeWiz costs R24,495.

However, they aren’t permanent installations or fully integrated into a home’s electrical wiring. Thus, they won’t add to the value of your property. They can also take up quite a lot of floor space.

The table below compares the price of battery and inverter backup systems of various capacities. All the batteries featured are lithium-ion.

Installation prices vary per installer. ACDirect charges between R14,999 and R22,999 for inverter and battery installations, with prices scaling based on the size of the installation.

We used these estimations for our calculations.

Battery backup and inverter systems
Battery Inverter Rated capacity / Storage Inverter and battery price Price with installation
Sun God 100Ah (24V) Conder Energy 3.5kW hybrid inverter 3.5kW / 2,400Wh R15,950 R31,950
GeeWiz 2 x 100Ah (12V) 3kW Mecer Axpert hybrid inverter 3kW / 2,560Wh R15,995 R31,995
Must 100Ah (25.6V) Must 3kW hybrid inverter 3kW / 2,560Wh R23,950 R39,950
Svolt 106Ah (48V) Conder Energy 6.2kW hybrid inverter 5kW / 5,000Wh R24,500 R44,500
Svolt 106Ah (48V) Growatt 5kW hybrid inverter 5kW / 5,000Wh R28,500 R46,500
Dyness 75Ah (48V) Deye 5kW hybrid inverter 5kW / 3,600Wh R51,950 R69,950
Sunsynk (5kW | 100Ah (51.2V)) Sunsynk 5kW hybrid inverter 5kW / 4,600Wh R54,399 R72,399
HinaESS 100Ah (51.2V) LuxPowerTek 5kW hybrid inverter 5kW / 5,120Wh R55,850 R73,850

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How to be load-shedding free for R32,000