Is 2019 the Year of Solar Power in South Africa?

With Eskom falling deeper, it begs the question whether 2019 could be the year for solar power.

Even though the lights could stay on this festive season, residents of South Africa should be prepared for possible loading-shedding early in the new year. And as far as new year’s resolutions go, Eskom has several options, and picking just one appears to be very problematic.

The news was made official by Eskom Chief Executive Officer, Phakamani Hadebe, during a radio interview yesterday. While he said that maintenance will help to sustain energy demand as the festive season reaches a peak, it is just a temporary fix. Hadebe continued to state that stage-1 load-shedding is a big possibility after 15 January, given the circumstances the state-owned power utility finds itself in.

In spite of getting a board-revamp by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa in order to gain investor and consumer trust, the long-term mismanagement has done extensive damage. And adding fuel to the fire Eskom is not selling enough power to cover the necessary upgrades, which are desperately required for its ageing plants.

The current state of affairs is not looking good. The action plan that was supposed to be in place to save the power utility has yet to be developed, and then it has to be executed and tested. But given the string of challenges that have prevented any type of constructive decision making, there is no telling when anything will actually change.

What South African residents do know is that load-shedding is a realistic future, and it is not very far away. Because as the celebrations die down, so will the lights, apparently. So, in ‘light’ of letting the celebrations linger a little longer, why not consider solar power? If there is one thing South Africans can always trust in, it is the most amasing sunrise almost every morning.

It is time for homeowners to start thinking like business owners. They need to ask questions like how to capitalize on the situation. For example, suppliers and installer services like Solar Advice will see this as an opportunity to organize better deals with a demand that is bound to grow. Because not only is solar power affordable, but it is the most practical and straightforward solution. But how do homeowners capitalize exactly?

Firstly, there is a drop in solar equipment prices, on top of special deals and promotions. In fact, there are some load-shedding packages that could be useful for extreme budget seekers. As business owners accommodate their prices according to the demand, homeowners stand to save even more, while implementing a long-term plan.

There are no politics, corruption, or mismanagement involved with a solar array. Instead, it is just a direct process of converting sunlight into energy that can be used in the home. And the best part? That beautiful South African sun will never ask a dime for its services.

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Marc Mcilhone
Marc Mcilhone is AfricanBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how African innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: