How much can you really save with solar?

When home or business owners are looking for solar, one of the thoughts that often goes through their minds is, “Why is electricity so expensive and what can I do to reduce my bills?”. This question leads many to investigate alternative power sources, and more specifically, solar power.

There are many reasons why electricity bills can be quite high. Take a basic mid-level household with its basic necessities over a monthly period:

Frequent use items (average about 180 hours a month):

  • 60-watt light bulb: R13.43 – multiply by how many bulbs your house uses
  • Geyser: R666.08
  • 70cm Television: R22.20
  • Home / Desktop computer: R47.95
  • Two-bar Heater / Fan: R96.10

Monthly costs for appliances that run for 24 hours a day:

  • Refrigerator: R266.43
  • Chest Freezer: R42.06

Appliances that run for 3 hours a month:

  • Kettle: R10.66
  • Toaster: R4.87
  • Microwave: R.5.77

Appliances that run for 10 hours a month:

  • Iron: R14.80

Appliances that run for +-36 Hours a month:

  • Stove / Oven: R159.90

This is an average monthly bill of roughly R1350. Many homeowners spend much more than this on their monthly electricity bills with the average suburban household spending around R1 687,54. Getting solar panels installed in your home can definitely alleviate at least some of this burden on the average family.

How much will solar cost you?

The price for a solar energy system differs per application however, as an example, an 80 sq.m house may require a 2kW of energy per day and this would cost upwards of R60 000. A bigger system of 5kW would cost upward of R100 000. With every installation, a full design and quotation process is necessary to ensure the electricity requirements of the home is met.

How much can you save?

In the instance of the 80 sq.m home with the 2kW requirement, after the initial investment has been paid off, the home owner will see an annual saving of around R26 400 per year by going off-grid. This means that, in this example, after 10 years of having a solar power system installed, the home owner would see a saving of R154 000 after factoring in the cost of the original purchase price.

Solar power has now plummeted to below R1 per kWh (around 0.70/0.80 cents) while Eskom’s average domestic tariff has risen to just under R2 per kW.

When it comes to solar, it is affordable, reliable and sustainable and definitely an investment that every home or business owner should make, especially during the current trying times that South Africa’s national grid has undergone.