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New solar PV backup solution launched

Powermode, a Johannesburg-based power-provisioning specialist has launched a new addition to the Soltra range of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generating solutions.

The high capacity Soltra GTB 10 000, which complements the successful Soltra GTB 3000 in the Powermode lineup, is a 10kVA capacity, utility grid-connected, hybrid solar PV power system targeted at small-to-medium-size enterprise and domestic markets.

“The Soltra GTB 10 000 is designed to help businesses and households cope with load-shedding and power outages, functioning as a back-up rather than a complementary power source in these eventualities. This sets it apart from conventional solar PV power systems,” says Jack Ward, Powermode MD.

He says the GTB 10 000 is aimed at larger-sized installations, where it is capable of dealing with bigger loads with a greater degree of backup battery autonomy. “It is also able to obviate the need for costly diesel generators in noise-conscious environments,” notes Ward, who adds that it’s ideal for rooftop installations.

The new unit features an integrated charge controller and inverter and can be operated in three modes: linked to the electricity grid (grid-tied); as grid-tied unit with battery backup (in a hybrid configuration); or as a stand-alone hybrid unit.

The GTB 10 000’s built-in electronic monitoring system facilitates the back-up, by automatically drawing current from storage batteries when the mains power fail. “Switchover time is a rapid 15 milliseconds,” says Ward, adding that this is designed to protect sensitive computer and other delicate equipment from power ‘brownouts’ and ‘spikes’ common to South Africa’s unpredictable electricity supply.

The computerised system is also able to automatically prioritise its power delivery channels; to back-up batteries to facilitate recharging during daytime, for example, or to appliances during user-definable peak periods. At other times the system will automatically juggle power sources between, solar, batteries and the grid to meet changing demands based on individual consumption dynamics.

“In addition, the unit is also able to feed power back into the utility grid – legislation permitting – slowing or even reversing consumption meters to significantly minimise costs to the consumer.”

Ward says the Soltra GTB 10 000 and its companion, the popular GTB 3000, represent a new-generation of cost-effective modular solar solutions requiring a comparatively low initial investment.

“The units can be expanded in terms of capacity to meet future demands. They can also be configured as three-phase solutions to meet commercial and industrial users’ requirements,” he explains.

With the escalating cost of utility power and the imminent arrival of ‘smart metering’ systems that will allow municipal authorities to bill for electricity consumption at much higher rates during peak periods in a process known as time-of-day-billing, Ward maintains that solar solutions will soon be on par with conventional power from the perspective of amortised installation and maintenance costs.

“This is particularly relevant as prices are expected to rise exponentially for power consumed during peak periods in the near future,” he adds.

Article source: Cape Business News 

Sizing your load shedding system correctly

The sudden uproar of solar and battery “experts” driven by the need to mitigate the risk and inconvenience of load shedding represents a risk to the unwitting consumer, with all the technical jargon flying over the heads of most, including the seller or installer. It’s not as simple as plugging everything together and incumbents will know there is a lot of consideration that needs to go into sizing a load shedding and solar solution for its application.

In lieu of what I have seen happening in the market with grossly undersized systems being proposed to the markets that will not deliver on what is promised purely based on the general lack of knowledge on the subject, I will give you some advice from my own experience in system sizing and important considerations. I will cover, battery sizing and operation, solar considerations and sizing, inverter selection and ideal operation.

A few basic principles that you need to know:

·         (Power = Voltage x Amperage) This equation is absolutely critical to understanding your need and what your system can provide you with. Power expressed in Watts, Voltage in Volts and Amperage in Amps.

·         (AC vs DC) Incidentally not the world famous band, but rather the type of current flow that we use in everyday applications. Alternative Current (AC) is what we receive from Eskom, meaning the current changes direction 50 times each second at 50Hz. When you plug an appliance into the wall you will be using 230 Volts of AC power. Direct Current (DC) as the name suggests, only flows in one direction and is what you get when using a battery or the type of current that your solar power will generate.

·         The inverter is the device that you use to convert DC current from your batteries and solar to the AC current that you require for your appliances. Bi-directional inverters conventionally have chargers or rectifiers built-in which allows you to charge your batteries and in turn converts AC from your Eskom supply to DC for charging those batteries.

·         Grid-tie inverters and MPPT’s are used in conjunction with solar PV panels, where the grid-tie inverter converts the DC current generated by the PV panels directly into AC current in line with the standard required by the Eskom power network, allowing you to provide excess power to the utility grid. The Grid-tie system however does not provide you with load shedding backup as it is required by law to shut down when there is a power failure for line operator safety reasons. It is also heavily regulated and consumers need to become acquainted with their local regulations. The MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracker is a charge controller that will optimise the solar yield and charge your battery bank. It will not convert DC to AC and is functional only to use solar with battery backup. This system will provide you with both solar power and load shedding backup.


The proverbial Achillies heel of any system, the sizing of your battery backup is literally the make or break for a good return on investment. It all starts at the manufacturer that will test a battery and give the battery specification at 25°C operating temperature and at a given hourly rate or C-Rate. This is absolutely critical to sizing your battery. The most well know battery size in the South African market is the 105 Amp hour 12 volt deep cycle battery and this battery is mostly given at a 20-hour rate or C-20. This means this battery will deliver a TOTAL of 105 Amp hours over 20 hours or only 5.25 Amps per hour for 20 hours when you divide the 105 by the 20 hours it is given at. So in essence when you use the equation above you will get Power = 12 Volt x 5.25 Amps = 63 Watts or 0.063 Kilowatt per hour for 20 hours.

The problem is that we do not have 20-hour load shedding periods, but only 2 – 4 hours per load shedding, which means we will not be using the battery at its 20 hour rate, but rather its 2 – 4 hour rate. This rate is hardly given by the manufacturer, seller or installer, but is critical to correct sizing. The same 105Ah 12V battery will have a reduced capacity at higher discharge rates and depending on manufacturer, may be in the vicinity of only 75Ah at its 3-hour rate. This in turn means the total of 75Ah divided by its hourly rate of 3 hours gives us a discharge current of 25 Amps and this multiplied by the voltage of 12 Volts will give us 300 Watts per hour for the duration of 3 hours.

You can see that four of these batteries will then give you 1200 Watts or 1.2 Kilowatts per hour for 3 hours and eight of them will give you 2.4 Kilowatts per hour for 4 hours and so forth. I have seen plenty of sellers and installers offering consumers 4x105Ah batteries using the 20-hour rate and selling these solutions as a 3 Kilowatt load shedding backup which is far from the truth. If you draw 3 Kilowatts from 4 of these batteries you will simply kill them in a matter of a couple of months and they will not last your entire load shedding period.

This is not even all the considerations as you need to look at your operating temperature, charge and discharge rates and especially the Depth of Discharge (DOD) which in turn will all influence your battery life.

In the next part I will cover the solar aspect, but be aware of what you buy, there are plenty “fly-by-nights” that will not size your system correctly, give you a cheap solution and never be able to carry the warranty.

Article source: Fin24


Using Solar Pool Heating

Energy costs always seem to be on the rise. This is largely due to the fact that we are using more energy then is available. Eventually our current energy sources are going to be depleted. That is why so many people are looking into alternatives. They are trying out solar power.

Solar power may not yet be ideal for every situation, but one place it seems to be the perfect match is outside. Solar pool heat is a great example of a perfect way to use solar energy. It is ideal because yourpool is going to be exposed to the sun and you are going to use your pool during the sunniest times of the year.

Solar pool heating involves one of two methods. It can be either passive or active. Passive solar pool heating involves simple methods and equipment. Active solar pool heating involves a bit more complexity. As the names suggest a passive system simply draws in the suns energy, while an active system actively collects the suns energy.

Passive solar pool heating is usually done with a solar blanket or pool cover. The cover soaks up the suns heat and traps in inside the pool to warm up the water. The downside is the cover can only be used when the pool is not being used and if there is not adequate sunlight then there will not be as much heat which can lead to colder water temperatures on occasion. Passive solar pool covers are quite easy to install. They usually have some sort of reel system that allows you to cover and uncover the pool without a lot of hassle.

Active solar pool heating involves collecting, storing and moving the solar energy. A solar panel, a battery and storage unit are all parts of an active pool heating system. Active pool heating systems can be complex to install, but they are more reliable then passive pool heating systems. To install an active pool heating system you need to run cables, install the panels and connect everything to the pool.

Whichever heating system you select for your pool-whether it be active or passive-it will ultimately be much cheaper than a gas or battery operation, which will require the constant replacement of limited inputs. They are also easier to install and much safer. Above all, the solar energy is free. You can save a bundle on your energy bills by using a solar pool heating system over other systems.

The Importance of Insulation R Value

Home insulation is a vital component of the home that you should consider, particularly during house renovation. If the home is not properly insulated, rest assured that insulation will be the most effective method to reduce your electrical energy usage. It is a proven fact that an insulated home is much more energy efficient, as the air conditioning in your home can substantially be decreased. Other than saving energy, home insulation also makes your home more comfortable to live in and helps to muffle sound. Dust and pests may also have a difficult time to come in your own home via the insulated doorway and basement.

An important consideration in insulation is the insulation R number. The R number indicates the efficiency of insulation material. The higher the R value, the more successful the material will be in lowering electricity usage. If you are planning to add insulation to your home and discover that there are already existing insulation, all that is required is to add an additional layer of insulation on top of your existing level. The insulation R value for existing insulation can be estimated by multiplying the thickness with a fixed number, which is dependent on the type of materials.

There are many types of home insulation available for power saving purposes. Probably the most common kinds are clothes insulation, paper insulation and wool insulation. In South Africa, mostly it will only be the ceiling that requires insulation, although insulating windows with double glazing is also a good idea in some areas.

Although the cost of installing insulation might be high initially, the money saved through lesser electricity usage is quite substantial in the long run. The required insulation R factor is an important parameter that needs to be estimated during the set up process. All recognized insulation materials will indicate the R value on the packaging. In colder areas you would require a higher R value than in warmer regions to achieve the same result.

The Importance of Safety Whatever Ceiling Insulation Types You Choose

When you are in a quest to saving energy at your place, ceiling insulation is one of the best things you can do. Ceiling insulation will reduce your energy consumption which will result in lowering of your monthly heating or cooling costs. With proper insulation, you will be assured that you will be able to enjoy the kind of temperature you want your home to have, in just a short amount of time. This is because proper insulation would ensure that your heating or cooling system will be able to function at its best. You would also be increasing the value of your place just in case you are planning to sell it. With the kind of benefits you can derive from it though, you still need to understand its safety considerations. No matter what kind of ceiling insulation types you choose to install at your place, you have to take certain measures to ensure the safety of your house and your family.

People in certain parts of the world are getting more and more concerned with fires that are started by wrongly installed insulation. Though many manufacturers would claim that certain ceiling insulation types are fire resistant, it is only to a certain degree. Such materials that are suppose to resist fire, will eventually give in, under different circumstances.

With the many fire reports that have been broadcasts in the television, newspapers and through the internet that have been caused by ceiling insulation, most of them are due to these ceiling insulation types that are installed too close to certain devices and electrical equipment. Because of this, you should take note that there should be a minimum distance between the ceiling insulation and certain items at your home. For example, the ceiling insulation should be at least 50mm apart from standard household light bulbs or incandescent lamps. If you are using halogen lamps, it should be farther away, such as at least 200 mm around it.

In addition to the distance, it is also highly advised to properly choose the kind of material you would be using in installing your ceiling insulation. It is best that you choose the kind of ceiling insulation that receives a higher heat resistance rating. This way, you are increasing the safety of your home by observing proper distance, as well as buying the material that can provide you with utmost safety.

Another cause of fire due to ceiling insulation is the incorrect way of installing it. Therefore, if you are not absolutely sure of yourself in installing it, then the best way to go about it is hiring an expert to do it for you. One of the best ideas in doing this is to search for a reliable company at your town, which is known to provide excellent service in terms of installing different types of ceiling insulation.

If you have just move to a new place in which the previous owner already installed ceiling insulation, you should have a professional ceiling insulation installer have a look at it. This way, he will be able to see if there are certain adjustments or enhancements you need to have to increase the safety of your place. Whatever kind of ceiling insulation types that have been already installed at your place, it is always best to have it checked to be on the safe side.

Ceiling Insulation – Good Reasons and Examples

Having ceiling insulation is not a way of decorating or improving its aesthetics but an essential ingredient that hikes up the comfort levels in your home. It is essential to have the ceiling insulated to prevent heat dissipation in cold weather so as to keep the inside of the house warm and cozy.

It is a great way to save on fuel and electricity bills which shoot up during winter when you use the heating systems indiscriminately in a bid to stay warm. The resistance to heat dissipation that is provided by the insulating materials prevents the accumulated heat within the house from waning and seeping out through the ceiling.

Having an insulated ceiling helps keep the inside of your house warm in cold weather conditions and cool in the summer. The most obvious benefit is of course the cutting down on electricity bills and the energy saving that you would achieve by doing so. It would also mean that you contribute in a small measure towards alleviating the energy crisis and also help towards environmental protection. There are numerous ways of insulating your ceiling properly and deriving optimum benefits from it.

The hot air that is generated from the heating source in the house would tend to rise up to the ceiling trying to dissipate the heat through the roof material to cool itself off. Having a ceiling insulation prevents the air from losing its heat and keeps the temperature of the home’s interior intact. The warm air is prevented from dissipating its heat thereby maintaining the room temperature without over using the heating system.

Fiberglass batt insulation is a simple and easy way to insulate your ceiling and is easy to be done. You do not require the services of an insulating technician and can do it on your own. It is also the most effective type of insulation to prevent heat dissipation. But although effective, the method of ceiling insulation is not very cost effective. If you fancy yourself to be a bit of a handyman, you could do the installation by yourself. The only thing you need to take is to not close any vents and to install it tight enough so as to leave no gaps in between.

The residential foam insulation is a more expensive option for insulating the ceiling but is durable and long lasting and you can gain value for the money spent over a longer period of time by saving on your heating and electricity bills. The foam insulation spreads to any area that is susceptible to heat loss and covers it up. The application procedure is simple and you can do it using a spray. Foam would not be good for homes that are not ventilated enough as it collects the damp and cause the walls and the ceiling to mildew over time.

A lesser expensive option for insulating your ceiling is the fiberglass blown insulation which is also less effective and cannot be installed by you yourself but has to be done by professional installers.

This form is however less efficient but better results can be achieved by using a double layered ceiling insulation of this form. Though expensive it would work out cheaper than the batt system of insulation any day. The material used for insulating your ceiling could either be fiberglass, cellulose or Rockwool, all of which work pretty well.

Ceiling Insulation In Warm And Cold Climates

Choosing the very best good quality ceiling insulation is the most effective point that you possibly can do, regardless with the type of climate you live in. It plays a very essential part in any house, regardless of size, or warm or cold weather.

Thankfully, consumers are blessed with a wide array of choices regarding insulation. So they could be picky as to what they install. Its purpose would be to preserve the cold from coming into your home, and preserving the heat inside. To the other hand, it’s going to hold your house from becoming excessively warm inside the summer months. That means you is going to be saving cash all year round on all kinds of vitality consumption. It is going to reduce your heating bills in the winter and your air-conditioning bills inside the summer.

Without good-quality ceiling insulation, you will be paying a lot extra cash in heating and cooling charges. So, not only is it good for your own sake, it’s also fine for the environment as you will be consuming much less energy and creating a lesser amount of greenhouse gases.

You will need to inform yourself on the matter so that you can be a smart consumer. Know all about your subject and about each and every particular solution. Weigh out the pros and cons of each one particular, and calculate the cost. When some could need the know-how of an experienced installer, others may well really be established through the house owner.

It is imperative that the insulation be put in as the manufacturer suggests, and handled with care to avoid its integrity from being compromised. If its, you might not be getting all the benefits out of it.

Blown insulation is among the least expensive choices in insulating ceilings. Unfortunately, it is also much less successful than other solutions, and must be established by professionals. About the other hand, fiberglass insulation may be set up by yourself, and performs incredibly nicely. Thus, you’ll be getting a great top quality product that is certainly quite inexpensive, and you can install on your personal to save even a lot more income.

Protect Your House Thoroughly With Insulation Boards

Insulation is any material or substance that provides a high resistance to the flow of heat from one surface to another. The single idea or premise that insulation is based on comes from heat moving from a warm area to a cold area. In the warmer times, heat tries to enter the house and on the colder days, the heat tries to escape. With vagaries like these, the purpose of insulation is to regulate the temperature by reducing the pace of the process. One way for some effective insulation is the method of absorbed insulation. These use materials such as aluminum foil and polyethylene foam which can be helpful in preventing the accumulation of cold and hot air and reducing heat transfer.

There are other forms of regulating the temperature too, in the insulation field. These are called the insulation boards. There are three forms of foam board products under several manufacturers names. They include extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene and foil faced or polyisocyanates unfaced. These boards are explained in detail below:

Extruded Polystyrene Foam or XPS is popularly known as the pink board or the blue board in edge profiles and in different thicknesses. This board is one of the most widely used insulation boards in the residential construction industry. XPS has an R value (measure of thermal resistance) of 4.5 to 5.0 per inch thickness. It is reasonably priced, light and easy to use. The product can be used to insulate the outside of foundation walls and even under the slabs of concrete.

Expanded Polystyrene Foam or EPS is the least used, cheapest quality foam available in the construction industry. The product may have an R value of 3.6 to 4.0 inches thick. This type of insulation boards is very similar to the foam which is used for packing “peanuts” and is used in insulated concrete form also known as ICFs.

Polyisocyanurate also known as polysio, is usually observed in all kinds of commercial and more recently with residential building projects. It has an R value of 7.0 to 8.0 inch of thickness. It also has a foil faced. The foil makes it excellent for insulation boards when radiant heat is involved. It is also the most expensive board, amongst the three.

Although foam boards are much more expensive compared to other insulation materials, such as cellulose or iberglass, it is mostly used in places where space limitations are encountered. Another reason for preference is, it is three times thicker than most of the insulating materials and because it has high R values. Also with materials such as polystyrene sheets, give a more peaceful and subdued home since, it prevents the entry of unnecessary noise. The house can have a sobering effect and can drastically reduce the cost of electricity. There are a number of stores both on-line and off-line that one may visit for the precise boards for the perfect fit!

Make winter more bearable with ceiling insulation

It seems every winter is getting colder and colder. Whether that is a real concern or not is debatable. One thing is certain though… in South Africa we can learn a lot from countries with more extreme winter weather. For starters, they know how to insulate themselves!

Most South African homes have very little in terms of insulation compared to their European or North American counterparts. There are multiple reasons for this, but allow me to highlight perhaps the two most prominent ones. Firstly is the fact that traditionally South Africans paid very little for energy compared to the rest of the world, which means that it always used to be cheaper to heat the home rather that preventing it from going cold in the first place. Secondly is the fact that winter temperatures in South Africa are a lot more moderate than elsewhere. We are not so prone to constant periods of snow, which combined with wind cause for massive drops in temperatures.

However, we are well aware of average temperatures dropping severely in winter – unbearably so, and certainly enough to require heating. With sharp increases in electricity tariffs, this quickly has a dramatic impact on the finances, and this is why nowadays it makes a lot more sense than ten years ago to insulate our homes properly. An home without insulation loses heat up to 240% faster than a home that is well insulated. This means that a home without insulation requires more constant heating than one with insulation. It is much like sleeping under a single thin blanket in winter instead of a thick duvet. With only body heat you will be fine under the duvet, but the thin blanket will require an electric blanket, since the heat will escape too quickly to be sufficient.

Ceiling insulation is a great place to start when insulating, because warm air rises. When the warm air inside your house rises to the ceiling, a well-insulated ceiling will stop the warm air and start pushing it down eventually, instead of acting like a chimney that extracts the hot air and allowing more cold air to start cycling through your home.

The next question is which installer to get. How do you know who to trust? We hear every day of contractors running off without finishing the job, or not standing responsible for a job that wasn’t done properly. Wouldn’t it be great to know about reputable and trustworthy ceiling insulation installers in your area? Well, Ensav has great news, because we’ve got exactly what you are looking for. We have a national database of rated suppliers operating in your area. When you complete our online quotation request, our suppliers are alerted and prompted to contact you. Afterwards, we send out a simple questionnaire to our enquirers, asking them to rate each of the suppliers that contacted them. In this way, we protect future users from bad service providers, and help weed out the “cowboys” from the industry.

So, for up to six quotations from quality ceiling insulation installers in your area, why don’t you complete our online form? You won’t be sorry you did!

BUSINESS DAY TV: A geyser is like ‘a giant kettle on standby all day

COSTAS Souris is director of GESS Green.

BUSINESS DAY TV: Coping with Eskom is a sad reality for homeowners as they’re left to fend for themselves. So what do we do … is an inverter better than a generator and what are the cost implications, and what’s best for people living in a townhouse or a cluster. Joining me now on News Leader is residential green expert Costas Souris from GESS Green.

Costas, have you seen a huge uptick in your business over the past few months?

COSTAS SOURIS: Most definitely. The only problem is we don’t have the stock and people are on us all the time about stock and that is across the board with all suppliers.

BDTV: What is the time delay then?

CS: You’re talking about two to six weeks depending on the type of solution you’re looking at.

BDTV: Okay, so this is a national problem but I want to get on to an inverter … in simple one-on-one terms, what does an inverter do?

CS: When the lights go out, something needs to power those essentials in your life, the TV, the decoder, the cellphone charger … you need to make an emergency call and you can’t do it … certain lights in the house, your ADSL router, your PC, your laptop, those essentials. And then, of course, you can go to the next level, and you can say I need to power my fridge, my gate motor, my alarm, my fence and so forth.

BDTV: So an inverter would deal with daily comforts like TV and cellphone?

CS: You can size an inverter based on your requirements. Here we need to bring in generators because you can bring in a generator which can power up your whole house, and you can also do the same thing with an inverter. But when we look at an inverter we tend to look at it from an essential items perspective.

BDTV: Okay, so if you had to compare an inverter for the whole house versus a generator for the whole house, what is the cost, and we’re going to get into the environmental implications just now?

CS: You’re looking at R100,000 for an inverter to power the whole house and you’re looking at probably R120,000–R140,000 for a generator.

BDTV: But the inverter is obviously cleaner….

CS: Definitely cleaner … it’s clean energy, it’s more convenient, it doesn’t have any noise attached to it other than a fan when it’s charging itself … and it can be inside … whereas a generator is noisy, smelly, and you can hear from what I’m saying that I’m not too much of a fan of generators.

BDTV: I know and I think its huge environmental (impact) … and it’s just rude to all your neighbours out there. So, if you’re on a budget and you just wanted an inverter for your cellphone, your TV, just to give you a bit of comfort when load-shedding happens, how much would that cost?

CS: It’s somewhere between R3,500 and R10,000, depending on exactly how many appliances you want to put on. The thing to do is to look at the labels on each of the appliances, the cellphone, etc and say, okay, that’s 7W, the TV is 150W and add it all together and it will tell you what size inverter your should be looking at. You don’t want to buy an inverter that’s too small that will trip out like your earth leakage if you overdo it. And, of course, you want it to last, you want to make sure that, come the four to six hours of load-shedding, that you want to get through that.

BDTV: So how easy it for impractical people to put an inverter in their homes?

CS: There are two types you can look at, one is what we call a plug-and-play version, which we’ve just been discussing, which you essentially plug … into the wall, let Eskom charge it for you, and then plug the appliances into that box. Let’s just call it a box, which is really not that … big … two car batteries together, and let it turn on when Eskom goes off, and let it run your TV. So all you’ll see is a slight flicker on your TV and life will just carry on.

BDTV: Yes … it really does make sense and (it) seems … your preference is an inverter over a generator.

CS: For the smaller things definitely.

BDTV: Yes, but for bigger things like, what, fridges, pool pumps….

CS: If you’re looking at bigger appliances that draw more power, more watts, then you need to really consider for how long do you want to keep those running, and there’s the big plus of a generator. A generator has got a fuel tank … you can put in a long-range fuel tank, and … fill it up and keep (filling) … it up.

BDTV: But I am so anti-generators because I think it’s rude to your neighbours, especially living in a townhouse complex and I live in a cluster complex and two of the eight units have generators. When Eskom rears its ugly head … it’s awful, the fumes and the noise. So what should people in townhouse complexes be doing, inverters?

CS: You’re answering the question … look at an inverter, which is very similar to what we’re using in offices for UPSs (uninterrupted power supplies) which make sure your computer retains all its information and keeps running when the power goes off. That’s what an inverter does and you can size it up if you need to.

BDTV: Let’s go onto other quick ones … quick ones to reduce your power load. You’re saying that the most expensive in terms of electricity usage in your house is a hot shower.

CS: Definitely. Think about a kettle … when you put a cup of water in a kettle it takes a few seconds to boil. When you add to it and fill it up to the top it takes minutes to boil and that element in the kettle is drawing 2,000-2,500W … now think of your geyser, it’s a giant kettle on standby all day, going on, off, on, off, all day. It’s costing you money.

BDTV: What should we do then?

CS: You should be switching to renewable energy, what we talk about all the time, solar water heating, and not to be confused with photovoltaic or PV panels which are used to generate electricity.

BDTV: How much is a solar water heater?

CS: It depends again on size … they vary in price from R10,000 to typically R25,000.

BDTV: What does a three-bedroomed house need?

CS: Rather ask me the question, how many people live in the house?

BDTV: A family of four.

CS: For a family of four, I would be looking for a 200l or 300l solar water heater and that’s between R15,000 and R20,000.

BDTV: Are there any subsidies on that, anymore?

CS: That’s the net price, and people need to move on it because at the end of April Eskom is withdrawing their subsidies and the Department of Energy is bringing in something new. What it is the industry doesn’t know yet?

BDTV: How much is the present subsidy?

CS: The present subsidy on a 300l system is R8,964 which is a lot of money.

BDTV: Yes, and it’s quite a chunk of the total price.

CS: It is.

BDTV: So that is something one can definitely look at. What about heating, what are the options there?

CS: Just before we move on, when looking at solar heating you reduce your electricity by about 30%-35% of your total bill.

BDTV: Okay, so that’s definitely something to look at. Heating in winter, what should we be doing?

CS: The first thing to be doing is to put a hat on your roof … put some ceiling insulation in. you have some very expensive homes with no ceiling insulation….

BDTV: How much is that?

CS: It’s round about R60/m² installed so a 100/m² home … (about R6,000).

BDTV: I have to ask you … we’re running out of time. The dreaded pool pump, what can we do about that?

CS: Reduce the hours. In summer three to four hours, and in winter one hour. After that you’re polishing the floor with the creepy.

BDTV: This is amazing stuff….

Article source: Business Day LIVE


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