The ins and outs of solar energy
Ongoing concerns about the country’s electricity supply have led to an increase in demand for solar power.
Real estate experts claim that switching to solar power could not only benefit the environment and our country, but could also increase the resale value of a property.
Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, said using solar energy can reduce the cost of running your home and has the potential to increase the value of resale of the property.
“In South Africa, green features are becoming increasingly popular among buyers, especially given the ongoing load shedding and the prevalence of droughts in our country,” he explained.
Seeing the importance of alternative energy solutions, Ian Ross, broker/owner of RE/MAX One, recently partnered with Union Power Energy, a solar energy company with an installation footprint in every major city center. South Africa.
“Reducing our individual carbon footprint is a must. In a sun-rich country like South Africa, I strongly believe that solar energy is the economical and environmentally responsible answer to powering our homes,” he said.
Through this partnership, Ross gained insight into the solar energy industry. He explained that while solar power can be expensive, it will likely become a necessity in most households.
“Solar systems can range from R50,000 to R500,000 depending on the house and how far the homeowner wants to go to be grid independent.
“The down payment is heavy. If the consumer could pay for this over a period using the savings they make by not using the national grid, that would make perfect sense,” he said.
Fortunately, this option exists in the form of real estate financing. “Criteria may differ slightly from bank to bank, but all major banks welcome financing for residential, commercial and industrial solar energy systems.
Access bonds on homes are the cheapest and fastest way to go other than the upfront cash outlay,” he recommended.
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Most homes are suitable for solar hybrid systems, but every house, apartment, building, factory, or site presents various challenges. Ross said older homes are more difficult because existing wiring and infrastructure is old or outdated.
For this type of residences, as well as for commercial and industrial properties, a more detailed evaluation should be carried out before a submission. This can be arranged via video call or personal visit from one of the area’s preferred installers.
For residencies, Ross explained that the assessment can be completed via a detailed questionnaire.
“During the assessment, solar power installation companies will ask key questions about the home.
These include finding out about the type of roof to decide on the mounting structure of the panel. Tile roof, IBR, corrugated, clip lock or flat concrete slab are all suitable options. They will also ask where the main database is located in the house for installation and cabling purposes,” he said.
He said most systems are IP65 rated to withstand the elements to some extent, but should be placed away from water sources.
“Some systems can be placed outdoors in a suitable area if covered and protected from direct rain. Coastal areas pose a challenge due to excessive moisture, rust and wind In these cases, insist on the correct mounting structure – stainless steel or aluminum,” he said.
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Those who live in apartments might face greater challenges due to attic access.
“There are smaller backup systems that may be suitable for apartments, but there are many other product offerings available for those wishing to disconnect from the grid, such as gas cooking, gas geysers and solar geysers. Borehole water with a filtration system can also be added to reduce a household’s reliance on the council’s water supply,” he recommended.
Ultimately, whichever way you go about it, reducing reliance on the national grid can benefit both the homeowner and the environment and can even add value to the home.