The world has relied on dwindling fossil fuel resources for far too long. Renewable energy is becoming more and more important as traditional fuel reserves are depleted. Within the South African context, we face yet another challenge. Much of our country does not have the infrastructure needed to tap into the national electricity grid, nor does the grid have the capacity to cater to the demands of the economy.
Solar power is one of the best alternative energy sources available. It is renewable, environmentally friendly and it can be used in a number of applications.
Solar power can be used to:
- Produce electricity,
- Heat water,
- To Cook,
- Or during the desalination process.
There is no question that there has been significant interest in the market and investment by government and private organisations in solar power. The South Africa government sees renewable energy as critical in its role in advancing the country economically and improving the lives of its citizens.
Why invest in solar energy?
- It is clean and renewable
To produce solar energy all you need is the right Photovoltaic (PV) devices. The solar panels generate electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process. This process doesn’t produce harmful emissions like fossil fuels and has the added benefit in that sunshine is free.
- Provides power to disadvantaged communities
There are many remote rural areas in South Africa that do not have access to the national power grid. With no access to power-lines, solar power offers a viable alternative. Solar power is also safer than burning paraffin which often results in shack fires.There have been numerous programmes backed by the government to install solar panels in outlying areas to provide electricity for heating and cooking to disadvantaged communities which have been successfully rolled out over the last few years.
- Cost of initial installation
It is important to consider the financial implications of installing solar panels. The initial outlay can be expensive and it is vital to consider the setup and maintenance costs. It is best to do an energy audit to determine the right size system suitable for the application.The demand for electricity both commercially and residentially is pushing up costs. More and more it seems prudent to invest in more cost effective renewable energy resource.