Please note that you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer which is not compatible with some elements of the site. We strongly urge you to update to a newer version for optimal browsing experience.

Solar, water tanks and electric cars: What it costs to ‘go green'

16 Sep 2019

The global trend for improving our environmental footprint underpins the eradicating of plastic from daily consumption and collecting debris from the oceans.

An 80sqm house requires 2kW per day, while a 5kW system would be required for a 250sqm house and cost around R110 000. A larger home with higher electricity demands may double the capacity required and, after equipment, installation and electrical certificate costs, cost around R190 000.

Companies and individuals are increasingly adopting innovative methods for “going green” whether by harvesting rainwater or installing solar panels - and the feasibility of converting to electric cars is generating the healthy discussions it warrants.

However, when a Tesla electric vehicle was captured bursting into flames on California’s iconic Santa Monica Boulevard and another stationary vehicle filmed exploding in a Chinese car park, there were more questions than answers about the 21st century technology. 

We asked solar, rainwater harvesting and electric vehicles experts about what consumers should be aware when “going green”.

Electric and Hybrid Cars

Automotive industry expert George Mienie, CEO at AutoTrader, believes that a number of factors are turning the buying aspirations of motorists in South Africa on their head. 

The charging infrastructure is growing in South Africa and at the moment you can travel anywhere in the country on the major highways with a charge point every 200km.

"First and foremost - and by far the greatest factor - is the fuel price. Motorists are bleeding at the pumps. They are seeking financial relief and electric cars are becoming far easier to own and run. I say this because of the expanding charging network at dealers, shopping centres and office blocks in South Africa. Nissan and BMW are working together in this regard. And I'm sure other car companies will too, when they bring electric vehicles to South Africa. This is key to the successful rollout of electric vehicles in South Africa, where we are spoilt for choice when it comes to traditional fuel stations," he says.

“When it comes to owning an electric vehicle the most important thing to understand is the range of your vehicle, this is crucial” says Mienie. "Driving an electric car requires a fundamental shift in the mind of the consumer."

For example, he says charging your battery requires a specific outlet and it’s not possible to rely on a friendly jumpstart, meaning your journeys will take a little planning. The charging infrastructure is growing in South Africa and at the moment you can travel anywhere in the country on the major highways with a charge point every 200km. There are future plans to increase the number of charge points to give consumers a choice to not have to stop at a charge point and rather drive onto the next one.

Solar use

The falling solar costs can be attributed to the rise in demand and falling production costs.

Technology for harvesting the sun’s energy is perhaps the green option that has been around the longest with solar power offering a range of possibilities for augmenting or wholly powering the home. However, Dom Chennells, SOLA Group’s Executive Director, says solar power will only work well if it is done correctly.

“Ensure you appoint a reputable installer, since getting the system to perform optimally over its 25-year lifespan takes engineering expertise. Short cuts will cost you in the long run,” he says indicating homeowners living in high lightening incidence areas must also guarantee their protection system falls within the allowed risk.

The downside to solar power is the significant upfront capital outlay required. Garth van Sittert, NexSolar CEO, says solar power installation starts from R63 000 and increases in line with the size of the house and the electrical output requirements with a R200 000 final bill not being unreasonable.

Considering the solar power investment over 20 years, a R200k capital outlay for a larger home should earn returns after five years

An 80m2 house requires 2kW per day, while a 5kW system would be required for a 250m2 house and cost around R110 000, he says. A larger home with higher electricity demands may double the capacity required and, after equipment, installation and electrical certificate costs, present a bill around R190 000.

However, large heat generating appliances like stoves, ovens, heaters and geysers cannot be used with a solar power system as they draw too much power, while smaller ones like kettles and toasters can be operated off the grid. Solar-powering geysers requires the equipment to operate with a timer automatically switching off the geyser once it has reached temperature.

According to Soventix South Africa, subsidiary to the German multinational group, the cost of energy from a photovoltaic system has dropped from R5/kWh (a few years ago) when compared to Eskom’s electricity charge at the time of R0.5/kWh, to below R1/kWh (energy cost amortised over the life cycle of the plant) with the average Eskom cost now at R1.84/kW (depending on what tariff).

The falling solar costs can be attributed to the rise in demand and falling production costs.

Considering the solar power investment over 20 years, the R200 000 capital outlay translates into R2 000 a month electricity cost – and the combination of guaranteed Eskom electricity price hikes and a reflection on current electricity bills, the solar installation should earn returns after five years. 

Rainwater harvesting 

An informal survey considering the asking prices from different retailers reflect vertical tanks cost around R2 000 for a 750-litre capacity to R7 500 for a 5 000-litre capacity.

Harvesting rainwater is another green solution with massive potential, both for alleviating drought conditions and saving on water bills. Bianca Harmse, JoJo water storage tanks marketing manager, offers sound advice for consumers considering this option.

The first step is ensuring the tank is installed on a level, smooth base and, if consumers are using the water for consumption, installing a pre-filtration unit is essential. In the case of harvested water used for municipal back-up, Harmse says consumers must employ a professional installer to assist with the installation.

“Your system will tie into the main water supply line meaning there are certain plumbing laws to which you must adhere,” she says.

Available nationally in various retail stores, JoJo tanks are manufactured in sizes ranging from 260 litres to 20 000 litres and can be vertical or horizontal in design.

An informal survey considering the asking prices from different retailers reflect vertical tanks cost around R2 000 for a 750-litre capacity to R7 500 for a 5 000-litre capacity. Horizontal tanks range from R10 500 for a 2 500-litre capacity to R22 000 for 4 500 litres.

Print Print
Top Articles
The days of Hermanus being just a small holiday town are 'no longer', and with good schools, an upbeat local economy and still well-priced property, it has a lot to offer...

Estates in Hoedspruit, Modimolle, Lydenburg and Bloemfontein offer serene African bushveld living, with stands selling from R200k and homes from R1.2m. Take a look...

South Africa's 'coolest mall' has been recognised as an innovative player in the retail space, hosting various events and delighting shoppers with over 300 stores...

Loading

Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or higher, please verify that your Internet Explorer compatibility view settings are not enabled.

For the best browsing experience, update to the latest Version of Internet Explorer or try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


Please contact our Property24 Support Team for further assistance. Tel. +27 (0)861 111 724