[Column] Armando Da Silva: Why solar power is the obvious solution for South Africa
08-01-2019 11:12:45 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 1154 | Tags:

As South Africa kicks off the New Year with a lower petrol price and hopes for a constructive 2019, there are some looming problems that hinder the great spirit of the country.

For example, Eskom is maintaining that load-shedding is still a possibility, in spite of the maintenance over the holidays and the currently stable coal supply. In other words, it cannot be established for how long load-shedding will be avoided.

But in light of finding solutions, as supposed to topping over everything that is wrong, why not focus on the renewable energy sources South Africans can utilise? Solar, biomass, hydro, and wind power are valid options to look at, although solar tends to stand out above the rest. This is not necessarily because solar is more effective. Instead, it is about practicality.

Firstly, this country has an abundance of sun. In fact, the African content carries a stigma for hosting the sunniest skies, and it can be witnessed as far south as Cape Town. This means the power source for solar is the most dependable considering the climate and location.

Then the matter of finding equipment comes into play, and there is no lack of solar power systems or important advice on how to use it when looking at sites like Solar Advice. In addition to connecting South Africans with high-quality solar brands, they provide relevant information and support to help implement these systems.

At the same time, solar equipment is becoming more and more affordable, while improving efficiency. Given that there are no moving parts necessary for a solar panel to harvest sunrays, the simplicity of the technology makes it the front-runner in terms of affordability.

Lastly, installations are typically quick and not very complicated. For example, individuals with DIY skills can opt to install basics like solar geysers themselves and still retain the warranty. But professionals are available, just in case.

What about hydro and wind power?

Many of the reasons why solar power is gaining traction in South Africa speaks to the challenges of using alternatives like hydro and wind energy. For instance, both options require very strategic and specific locations before they prove to be effective.

They also consist of moving parts, which require regular maintenance and increases costs. Lastly, these systems have yet to develop towards a point of affordability, but this is not bound to happen any time soon.

Until then, solar power is the most practical, affordable, and functional choice for South Africans. It can provide enough independence from Eskom, and arrays can power a home or business for years to come.

Armando Da Silva is the Co-owner of Solar Advice