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South Africa’s burgeoning solar industry is currently experiencing a gold rush as both solar installers and product suppliers rush to service the pent-up demand from homeowners desperately wanting to install solar battery back-up systems in order to maintain their lifestyle. However, in order to meet this growing appetite, some serious challenges first need to be overcome in order to effectively service the demand and assist South Africans with what has been the worst year of load shedding yet.

This graph published by EskomsePush shows that by September this year we had already experienced a total of 1637 hours of load shedding, following 4 years of an increasing trend of load shedding. Considering that in 2021 laid shedding totalled 1153 hours, it is evident that this upward trend is accelerating. This trend is projected to continue over the medium-term future, leading to load shedding to double within the next 5 years. The main cause is the 5 oldest coal power stations coming offline during this time, with relatively small generation capacity coming online to replace what is leaving.

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It is clear that Eskom can no longer be relied upon for stable electricity, this leaves home and business owners with little choice but to seek alternative options to provide for their energy needs. One of the most convenient and affordable options is to replace Eskom’s supply with energy supplied by the sun, by getting a solar battery installation.

Every solar battery system installation is an engineering project that needs to factor in the unique nuances of the respective home. Solar installers are inundated with requests for proposals and costings that require detailed engineering designs to simulate the homeowner’s unique solar saving forecast, costs and finance. In order to generate an accurate and reliable solar proposal takes time, and with a surge in national demand for these proposals, this quickly becomes an administrative nightmare. 

Enter Hohm Energy, which is a fintech solar marketplace that is purposely built to effectively scale such demand and generate accurate and detailed proposals for its clients, both solar installers, and homeowners. Tim Ohlsen, CEO of Hohm Energy, explains how this functions to the advantage of the market: “Hohm is a software company that has built a marketplace and platform to enable the South African solar industry to scale, whilst providing a convenient and trusted service experience for everyone. Hohm’s software uses a homeowners’ unique design parameters of geo-location, orientation and angle of roof to generate a bespoke solar proposal within less than 5 mins. From there we provide a turnkey solution – namely sales, customer management, deployment features and workflows – to help our onboarded solar installers grow their business by servicing solar enquiries and structuring solar finance”.

Going solar is hugely beneficial but is not without cost, and access to the right finance can also come as a challenge with limited, to no choice, for homeowners to finance their solar battery system outside of using their available equity in their bonds. Nedbank has recently partnered with Hohm Energy to provide a trusted marketplace for homeowners and solar installers to transact across South Africa. MFC, a division of Nedbank, has launched a new, innovative stand-alone solar finance product that resembles that of motor vehicle financing. This has enabled MFC to offer homeowners convenient solar finance, even if they don’t have a bond or bank with Nedbank. Hohm’s marketplace and software platform enables all the coordination of servicing homeowners through the journey and matching them with vetted solar installers across SA. “Hohm Energy has emerged as an innovator paving the way for a true solar aggregator model that uses software technology to streamline all stakeholders in a solar project. Nedbank is excited to partner with Hohm Energy as a one-stop-shop that serves both homeowners and solar installers to provide more trust and scale to the growing residential solar industry”, says Quintin Greyling from Nedbank MFC.

Hohm Energy is launching a new feature to open its marketplace to solar installers as it seeks to rapidly expand its footprint across South Africa. “We are bringing easy access to residential solar finance to market, enabling all solar installers in our network to bring their own solar projects into the Hohm marketplace for financing” says Ohlsen. The company has conducted a successful pilot of this solar partner model with a well-known solar technology company and provider, Wetility .“We are delighted to be a solar provider in the Hohm / Nedbank MFC Finance partnership and we are extremely impressed with the turnaround time, professionalism and commitment to the quality of the offering. Similarly, Wetility are also very focused on customer success and providing quality and compliant hybrid solar hardware, software, and financing solutions and consequently we are pleased to be able to join this unique offering through our partnership with Hohm.” says Vincent Maposa, CEO of Wetility. 

In order to participate in Hohm’s marketplace, to access both structured finance for projects originated by solar installers and receive homeowner projects originated by Hohm, solar installers can register here to start the process:

Sign-up to the Hohm marketplace to become a vetted solar installer to service your clients with solar finance.

Hohm Energy is a platinum sponsor of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (SAPVIA) PV Greencard initiative and provides quality assurance of solar installers to consumers. Hohm is taking an active role in providing support to the solar installation sector by enabling and assuring a standard of trusted, quality solar installations which are being provided by its network of vetted solar installers.

As a fintech platform and aggregator which enables the entire solar industry, Hohm Energy’s marketplace positioning could not have come at a better time for both consumers and installers alike. “We are very excited to bring this new solar partner model to market to help local solar installers grow their business”, says Ohlsen. “We are here to service homeowners, our finance partners and our network of solar installers using technology, making the whole solar process simpler, faster and more affordable for everyone”.  DM

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