There can be no doubt that Eskom’s continuing inability to maintain a sufficiently stable supply of mains electricity to the nation’s consumers has been causing major disruptions for the majority of residents and businesses in South Africa. For those who may have suffered during 2019, it should, therefore, come as a welcome relief to learn that there are a number of ways in which it is possible to avoid the inconvenience caused by load shedding this year.
To a large extent, the particular countermeasure that is likely to prove sufficiently effective in any given situation will be determined by the type of task to be supported, the amount of energy required for this purpose, and just how much cash one is willing to invest. For example, although it is the nation’s households that are those most frequently subjected to planned outages, their power requirements are relatively limited. Generally, a small petrol-driven generator should offer the means to avoid major load shedding difficulties this year. In most cases, residents require just enough emergency power for lighting, refrigeration, boiling a kettle, watching TV, and perhaps charging a mobile phone, all of which can be achieved quite cheaply and, in some cases, a device can be powered simply with the aid of a cable connected directly to the generator.
For those willing to spend a little extra, a larger, diesel-driven model could power the entire home. However, this involves a connection to the domestic distribution board and a transfer switch, so the installation needs to be undertaken by a qualified electrician.
While many households may wish to avoid the perils of load shedding this year, a growing number, due to environmental concerns, may be reluctant to operate a generator that relies on the combustion of fossil fuels. While a model powered by cleaner-burning natural gas or propane is one option, these will also cost quite a bit more to purchase and to operate. For a more sustainable power source, there is no other form of auxiliary power source suitable for home use that can currently compete with a photovoltaic array.
Solar panels are not just a way to avoid any problems arising from load shedding this year, but they also have the potential to provide a much broader power generation solution. Photons falling on a detector composed of an electron-rich semiconductor act to displace the excess electrons and create a flow of current between the detector and a second layer of semiconductor that has a deficiency of electrons. When using storage batteries to contain the power generated during daylight, a sufficient supply of backup power is available for use during a subsequent outage.
However, any power not used to avoid load shedding problems, whether this year or at any other time, can be used whenever required and offers a means to reduce the steadily mounting monthly bills issued by local municipalities for the supply of mains electricity. The extent to which this may be possible will depend upon the number of panels installed which, together with the installation, can amount to a substantial investment. However, a homeowner can always start with just a couple of panels and extend the array as and when he or she can afford to do so.
Either way, when installing solar panels to avoid load shedding hassles, if not this year, with sufficient routine use, the reduction in monthly electricity bills alone should mean that the system will, at some stage, have paid for itself and will begin to provide a real return on the initial investment.
Solar energy is not only a clean and sustainable means for households to avoid the potential consequences of load shedding this year. It can also be of benefit to small businesses, large commercial concerns, and even selected industries. To learn how, contact an expert at PacB Group.
Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.