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Just short of two weeks prior to the country’s first Covid-free Christmas and summer holiday season, where despite rising inflation and interest rates, retail and growth indicators have remained largely bullish, Eskom has yet again managed to ensure that our well-deserved festive season may not run as anticipated.

With the recent surprise escalation of load shedding to stage 6 – announced at a mere 30 minutes’ notice, and until further notice – yet another record has been broken in the spectacular demise of Eskom, and at  the expense of the country, its residents and businesses, and at a time when they can least afford it. 

Eskom has cited several reasons for this latest escalation, including a flurry of units going offline all at once due to breakdowns at power stations, and the lack of already depleted funds to procure more diesel to fire their gas turbines, that would typically remove two stages of load shedding. 

Prior to this year, stage 6 had only occurred once in 2018, but with this recent bout, this now is the third time South Africa has had to endure stage 6 this year. Furthermore, energy analyst Ted Blom recently pointed out that there is a likelihood that the unprecedented stage 7 may occur as Koeberg Unit 1 is taken offline for an entire 6-month repair and refurbishment period, stating baldly that “We are on the cusp of record-breaking stage 7 load-shedding”, and that any further breakdowns would push the country past stage 7.

This unfortunately is a clear indication of things to come, both in the short and medium term, procedurally and substantively, in the sense that there will be no reliable schedules or notifications, nor will there even be reliable downtime periods, and why load shedding is very likely to double in the coming 5 years. It is clear that Eskom can no longer be relied upon for a stable supply of reasonably priced electricity, nor for reliable information when that unreliable supply will be operational. An achievable, affordable home or business solution that is recommended to home and business owners is a hybrid solar rooftop and battery solution that will happily see you through the new normal of stage 6+ load shedding and ensure continuity of your lifestyle or business requirements.

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Load shedding will predictably double

Eskom confirmed in their latest quarterly report that there will be no reprieve next year to the levels of load shedding that took place in 2022. Looking at the trends of load shedding that have taken place up until now, it is clear that it has been increasing year on year and has recently started to increase  exponentially:

What is seen at the end of each year on the graph above, is that there has been increasing jumps in the total amount of GWh shed each year up to 2021. What is alarming is that this graph measures up to the end of September and the amount of load shedding represented in 2022 (5 761GWh) is already more than double the total of 2021 (2 521GWh). It is possible that by the end of 2022,  we will see an overall increase of 150% from 2021, without the trend slowing down. That means for every day of load shedding experienced in 2021, we had two and a half days of load shedding in 2022!

Energy expert Matthew Cruise points out that stage 6+ load shedding is likely to become the new normal over the coming few years and there are several reasons he believes this will take place:

  1. The government is no longer bailing out Eskom with payments for diesel whenever their budget is overshot for the gas fired turbine fuel, which happens on a near quarterly basis.
  2. The ageing power station fleet is unlikely to experience an increase in generation efficiency, despite the continual efforts of maintenance and repair that has been taking place over the last 4 years.
  3. There is almost no new stable generation capacity coming online within the next 3 years that can provide consistent electricity generation during the morning and evening peak-demand periods.

This last point is significant, as it means that not only will stage 6 load shedding become the new normal over the short term, but it is likely that load shedding will continue to worsen in the medium term as well, says Cruise. To unpack this further, Cruise points to what the ANC government has announced in terms of their plans for the energy sector, and there is not much that talks about load shedding reduction.

During the COP 27 Climate Change Conference, Cyril Rhamaphosa unveiled South Africa’s R1.5 Trillion Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JETIP) that covers the plan for the next 5 years for the energy sector. In the plan, it is clear that the government is solely focused on the intermittent generation methods of wind and solar energy, with not much thought given to how South Africa will be powered when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

Looking at the split of finance allocated to electricity generation within the JETIP, Table 3 refers:

What is apparent is that there is not much thought nor budget allocated to providing power to cover the morning and evening peak demand, with only 5% (R23.1Bn) allocated to battery storage. Looking at the typical energy use pattern throughout the day, overlaid with solar production below, it is clear that solar energy is generated during the middle of the day, when the sun is shining most.

Solar energy is not however providing energy to meet peak demand in the early mornings and evenings – this power needs to come from energy that has been stored in batteries, or from gas turbines (which are run on diesel). Looking at a more complex graph that includes wind power on the electricity generation vs demand hourly curve below:

It is apparent wind and solar are not able to match the demand curve of the country and that the investment into batteries needs to be far higher than the 5% allocated from the JETIP budget. An investment of 1/3rd (33%) or R150Bn into battery storage would be far more appropriate if we were to sincerely attempt to keep the lights on in the evenings and mornings with renewable power.

Given all of this, it is clear that Eskom and the ANC government can no longer be relied upon to provide stable, affordable electricity. As a country with plenty of sunlight, we are well placed to take advantage of cheap solar energy generation paired with batteries for our homes and businesses. The cost of the equipment needed to generate household electricity has dropped significantly over the last 15 years by at least 90%, making now the most affordable time to reduce your reliance on Eskom by getting a solar and battery system that will take care of your energy needs. 

So what then, is your trusted solar solution?

Enter Hohm Energy, South Africa’s first solar marketplace and the only solar solution provider that is trusted by multiple large finance brands to provide a full range of turnkey solar services to their clients. Hohm Energy is currently partnered with Nedbank MFC and home loans, ooba and Hippo to service their clients. Hohm Energy is an all-in-one solar solution that uses a network of vetted solar installers across SA with embedded finance for homeowners in an online experience that takes the user from sign-up to online finance approval within 30 minutes. 

To meet stringent installation quality and compliance requirements, Hohm vets solar installers prior to onboarding them into its marketplace. Recognising that quality assurance is key,  Hohm has developed a 3rd party quality control service model via a network of certified Solar Quality Advisors that are allocated to every installation to snag all technical and aesthetic issues, all of which are required to be resolved prior to system commissioning and handover. This enables Hohm to guarantee that your installation is fully compliant and leaves your home in the same state as it was prior to installation. Hohm looks after every homeowner to ensure an optimal client experience.

Being a marketplace, Hohm also works with leading Tier 1 solar product components that it sources and selects from local product suppliers. A Tier 1 product is defined as one that has the best quality guarantees in the industry. Only Lithium Ion batteries that have 10 year warranties are rated Tier 1, examples of the battery brands used by Hohm in this category are: Sunsynk, Hubble, FreedomWon, Dyness, Weco, Sungrow, Wetility PACE 121 and SolarMD. Similarly for inverters, which act as the brain of a solar installation system, the highest quality Tier 1 guarantees ensure performance for 5 years+. Examples of inverter brands that are within this category that Hohm uses are: Sunsynk, Deye, Sungrow and Goodwe. Tier 1 solar panels have a guarantee period of 20 years+, and these brands include: Canadian Solar, Longi and Jinko. 

Hohm also has a “quality at best price guarantee”, where any solar quote that has cheaper like-for-like components will be matched by Hohm.

Submit your solar quotation here to access Hohm’s quality at best price guarantee

With the Hohm Energy platform, everything is digital, online, convenient and fast. The process for arriving at a bespoke solar proposal for your property takes just 3 minutes online and has 90% accuracy, and there is a range of financing options available. For instance, through Hohm’s partnership with Nedbank MFC, an asset-backed finance option can be submitted and approved online within 30 minutes of your application. If you have a home loan, there is also a cheaper form of financing that involves taking a further advance on your bond, which Hohm can also assist across all major banks through their partnership with ooba and Nedbank home loans.

Sign up here to generate your custom solar proposal within 3 mins and be serviced by a Hohm Energy-approved solar installer with easy access to finance

Additionally, Hohm also offers Hohm Service and Maintenance Plans for homeowners with different plans for different needs and budgets. This ensures the optimal functioning of the solar system over the duration of the life of the equipment. Even without a separate maintenance plan Hohm still offers after sales services, some of which are included in the Hohm Service Plans are:

  • Continual optimisation of your system for peak efficiency
  • Quarterly reports of your systems performance
  • Automatic fault finding and repair in the event of any issues being experienced
  • Bi-annual panel cleans to ensure continuous optimal production
  • Annual inspections of system installations
  • Warranty management
  • Customer support
  • Electricity billing queries

Hohm Energy is the one company that provides a turnkey solar solution (including a variety of finance options) for hassle-free solar with “quality-at-best-price” guarantee.

If you are considering a solar solution for your home, sign up to Hohm Energy and generate your online solar proposal within 3 minutes. With Hohm Energy’s best quality price guarantee, you can be assured that you will be receiving the best quality hassle-free solar installation at the best price. As we all rush to complete our obligations before year end, and look to wind down and segue into the holiday period, it may seem convenient to defer this until next year, but when you return home and we are firmly in Stage 6 or perhaps even Stage 7 you may regret not scoping and ordering your solar solution with Hohm now to ensure a happy, productive start to 2023.

Sign up to generate your customised Hohm Energy solar proposal within 3 minutes




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