In 2015, two small holdings in South Africa made the decision to go fully off-grid with solar power. The owners, Con Meyer and James, were fed up with the constant power interruptions and exorbitant costs associated with being connected to the national grid, run by Eskom.
At the Rondeberg Nature Reserve on the West Coast, Con installed a 5kVA system with 9kWh of energy storage and 3.6kWp of solar panels. The savings were significant - Con was paying 3,000 ZAR less per month for availability and an additional 30 ZAR per day for energy usage. The total cost of the system at the time was 160,000 ZAR.
Similarly, James, a helicopter hanger owner, and firefighter, near Toulbagh, installed a 10kVA system with 12kWh of energy storage and 4.6kWp of solar panels. Despite initially applying for a connection to the grid and being quoted a cost of over 200,000 ZAR for the line and transformer, James made the decision to go off-grid instead. He too experienced significant savings, paying 3,000 ZAR less per month for availability and an additional 30 ZAR per day for energy usage. The total cost of the system at the time was 200,000 ZAR.
Both Con and James have experienced very few power interruptions, even on rainy days, compared to others who are on the national grid and experience stage 6 load-shedding, resulting in not having power for 8 to 10 hours a day. The switch to solar power has not only brought financial savings but also peace of mind and a sense of independence for these small-holding owners. It serves as a reminder of the power of renewable energy and the impact it can have on individuals and their communities.