Today, SolarAfrica launched the first solar energy solution for the sectional title market in South Africa. The product offers homeowners in residential complexes access to affordable solar energy with just a 10-year contract period.
“The single most important thing about SolarAfrica’s offering, is the ability for customers to get solar energy without the upfront cost, which until now, has always been the biggest barrier to entry,” explained Johan Pienaar, Commercial Director, SolarAfrica.
According to SolarAfrica, the biggest hurdle to going solar has been the significant costs amounting to more than 8 times the typical annual residential electricity bill. This has put solar ‘out of reach’ for many South Africans.
“South Africa has a large sectional title market, with over 1.9 million homes organised in this manner. For SolarAfrica, it makes sense to provide an alternative solar solution when we have such a large market relying on the national grid”
SolarAfrica will pay for, install and maintain a set of solar panels which are placed at the residential complex (example the roof). Sectional title owners use all the solar energy produced to lower their electricity costs and reduce what they pay to the municipality.
Because the monthly service fee payable to SolarAfrica is less than the cost of energy sourced from most municipalities, there’s considerable real saving that goes to the Body Corporate. SolarAfrica also guarantees its pricing won’t go up by more than CPI +1 each year. By comparison, NERSA approved an Eskom rate hike of 9.4% this year and this is expected to rise by approximately 8% each year thereafter.
“The results speak for themselves,” explains Pienaar. “Body corporates can expect to save 15% – 20% of their energy costs which can be directly reflected through a reduction in its levies.
SolarAfrica’s community of users have access to an online real-time data service, which provides visibility to customers on their energy usage, allowing them to monitor and manage their energy.
Reasons for moving to solar energy doesn’t only have to be about saving money with the increasing energy prices, theres a growing awareness for environmental sustainability too and that’s also driving demand.
“Traditional centralised systems of national power grids are being replaced by the concept of distributed generation,” explained Pienaar. “There is a growing awareness of consumers that they have other options, not only in South Africa, but globally too”.
The reality is that distributed generation is the way of the future. In South Africa, electricity prices have risen by 390% since 2008, with South Africa being among the top ten countries in the world ideal for renewable energy usage, the business case for alternative energy solutions already exists.
As solar takes off, we can expect a rush of innovations and decreases in other supporting technologies, like batteries (energy storage) over the next few years.
SolarAfrica’s solution is built on a modular concept, which means it is easily scalable. Add-ons such as energy storage, specifically, batteries will be featured in future upgrade offers as these technologies become feasible.
“We are extremely excited about this offering,” says Pienaar. “Our goal at SolarAfrica is to make solar energy accessible to South Africans by building simple energy solutions that positively impact the world. We are now able to do this and create real value for our customers.” concluded Pienaar.
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