Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  05 Nov 2009

ENERGY: Eskom Shock Sparks Rush to Solar


Recent Gauteng Business News

The shock of Eskom’s proposed rate hike has prompted South African home-owners to seek a viable alternative – and solar energy is the way to go. People are getting over their initial reluctance to splash out on solar heating, as the period in which it will take for a solar power system to pay itself back will be severely shortened by the Eskom power rate hikes.

Theo Rutstein, Chairman of the Teljoy Group, says that since the publication of the Eskom proposals, his company has been receiving more than 300 enquiries per day. “Initially people thought it was a good idea to go solar, but few people were prepared to dig into their pockets to pay for it,” he said.

Since Eskom’s announcement that it proposes a 45% compounded increase per annum for the next three years has stirred consumers to action.

The realization that a bill of R1000 per month will increase over the next three years to R3 000 per month has motivated consumers to look for methods of saving electricity and he most obvious choice has been solar water heating. “It is generally recognised that heating water accounts for between 30 and 50% of an average household’s electricity consumption so that the installation of a solar water geyser will effectively offset the proposed Eskom hike,” said Rutstein.

Teljoy entered the solar industry nearly two years ago and business was initially slow, despite the fact that most people thought that solar was a good idea, not only in terms of saving money but also because it reduces carbon emissions and is good for the environment.

Teljoy, realising the dichotomy between the desire to install solar and the willingness to pay for it, introduced a Green Credit scheme in terms of which payment for the solar system would be effected over a four-year period and the monthly installments would be offset by the savings in electricity usage.

The introduction of the Green Credit resulted in a significant increase in business as solar water heating became more affordable. Rutstein notes that once the Eskom tariff hike goes through, the pay-back period on the solar system will be significantly reduced.

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