Here I was thinking ok, I need Solar to ride out the blackouts we are getting more and more frequently, this happened quite a few years ago and was getting worse by the day. And so I did.
Back to today and I realise I was an idiot back then, I did not need Solar for that reason, the reason and reality is actually quite a bit different as to why I am using solar today.
Yes the blackouts (LS) is part of it, but man not the main reason. Solar is protecting me and my family from going insane, off the rails and off the cliff. You see, in our area we frequently of late are going without utility supply for days on end. This normally happens when utility returns, then at least for one slot per week but frequently more than once per week, the power just remains off. The off time varies between 8 hours and a week where the utility remains off.
Be that what it may, aging infrastructure (no), incompetence, wilful negligence, lack of maintenance, criminal mafia stealing infrastructure or just politically getting back at a ward or area of the opposition, Solar protect us from all of that. And we have not had a week since day 1 of 2023 where some or some combination of the above, has not happened. This year is much worse than last year, nevermind the total ballsup of the coof plandemic period.
So, I was wrong and an idiot for thinking I need Solar to protect us from LS….
And a secondary benefit is with Victron and others, when the Utility returns, my system is wired so that all consumers are on the essential side. This means that the utility needs to be stable, safe and within limits before it is connected to my house. No more blown up electrical appliances or electronics, a huge plus!
My reason includes yours basically, but I’ve always been a bit of prepper. I knew from the start that I wanted to be self sufficient when doomsday come in whatever form that may be.
So I kitted my home out to glamp and it worked fine until the rabbit hole opened up resulting in myself now simply enhancing my glamping experience by expanding when funds allow because we are all creatures of comfort.
That and the fact that I don’t want to pay any cent more than I have to for Eksdom. ROI was never ever a consideration through.
Gotta say, 5 years ago, did not anticipate the rapid decline in all those other things. Eksdom was expected tho. Yea my crystal ball is indeed charcoal grey
Today I am in total agreement with you
I installed my first solar system in 2013, because (so I told myself) I needed the ability to work. I was self-employed and losing even 8 hours a week was too much for me. Of course part of the reason was that I was working for peanuts – in hindsight – but I immediately took the meagre payout from a policy I cancelled, and bought a small inverter system and some panels.
I didn’t need all that. A small generator would have been more cost effective at the time. I could have gone with just the inverter and batteries. But I wanted the solar part, because it was cool. Because my dad had that in 1988 already, and there was no way I am less cool than he is. That was the real reason.
Fast-forward 10 years. Load shedding has an IMMENSE impact on the mental health of people. I tell you, I see people barely stop short of foaming at the mouth when we’re in the higher stages (5 and up, in my experience). Who remembers the TikTok (I am unable to find it anymore) video of a very very upset Mitchell’s Plain resident ironing clothes at 1AM, because the power was off until midnight, and by the time they get up for work (probably 6AM) it is off again?
So I am totally with you. Sanity is a major factor, and in hindsight, possibly the most important one.
Also 100% agree with this.
It’s also interesting how this impacts businesses too. I needed the brushes on my washing machine replaced on Thursday. Phoned the local recommended appliance repair company that does the majority of repairs on site and they said they’ll send a technician out, but I should just let them know how my loadshedding schedule look like as they need to arrange it with when I have electricity.
Also had a polycarb roof replaced not too long ago. They drive around with a generator in case there’s loadshedding and they need to use some of the larger, non-battery powered power tools.
This is my rationale:
I am retiring to ZA after living there for thirty years and watching the situation develop for my immediate ZA family develop for a further twenty years from abroad.
I think it is fair to say delivery of all public utilities in ZA has deteriorated.
My direct ZA family members enjoy a warped sense level of materialism. They have some of the finest “toys”, cars, boats, houses, and stuff that I can’t afford to accumulate overseas, but they also have to endure non-existent basic services that I take for granted. I am neither naturally materialistic nor a tree hugger.
Essentially, I can live very well with my foreign pension if I can take care of the basic services. (I still think in ZA you can get word class medical care if you can afford it).
Regarding power and water, to that end, I am not a par-boiled frog lack of electrical power will be a step change.
It is fairly obvious to me that the endless “We have a plan to tackle X” statements are empty, and not extrapolating to the end game is foolhardy.
Going off-grid from the outset is far more expensive than using ESKOM to supplement a 60% off-grid capability. I accept that.
On the other hand, an expense is also associated with maintaining and growing an on-grid compliantly. I am quite a stickler for electrical safety, so I am not advocating shortcuts.
But quite frankly, I am satisfied that system size limitations and approved inverter lists seem more about red tape and frustrating the little guy jumping through hoops.
I want to do what I want to do, and I have the expertise to do it.
So I am offsetting the cost of going directly off-grid against the freedoms from red tape and its associated financial implications.
Over the years, I have purchased a large part of my eventual system piecemeal at bargain prices.
I have concluded the ZA power situation will continually deteriorate ( at least in my lifetime). I’d rather go off-grid from the outset than constantly chase a moving target (compliantly) and having the associated costs of doing so.
I will skip ahead to the end game, enjoy myself doing it ( whilst I am still young enough), and reap the benefits of being totally off-grid without any power limitations afterwards.
I realize that this is not an option for most people and may seem to some to be an overly lucky situation for me to be able to exploit. This isn’t the case. It is a situation that I have taken over a decade to put into place.
I no longer see solar as something I will have to endure to live happily ever after, but more like a retirement project I want to get my teeth into, which is integral to my happily ever after.
Great to hear about the rationale from others for embarking on this journey.
One of the major incentives must be the empowerment that it provides one. If you aren’t simply going to throw the kitchen sink at the solution you are otherwise going to manage the balancing act that your setup will present you with.
This is an empowering experience, no pun intended.
The movie Oppenheimer deals with this topic. The scientists start out with the theory of the workings of the bomb and then proceed to the practical testing of it. The players not able to follow the physics are bystanders. Quite fascinating!
And judging by the look of things, it seems we’ll get no service delivery at least this entire week due to all the protests and illegal strikes for salary increases.
Good time to practice and it is indeed an empowering experience.
Water shortages and refuse removals is a horse of a different color though. At least our neighborhood pulls resources and we arrange our own refuse removal during such times. But the sewage thing is something to consider. Very soon this will be a huge k@kspul.
Guilty or Guilty… Another Jaaaa boet here. Portapottie is ready and waiting on that sh1tstorm. Seeing that no water = a big enough problem as it is, let alone sewage with no water = constipation
Edit: PS I see we advancing to lonsdrops soon, at least I can dig a hole in my property
Would’ve done this years a go, but I stay on a rock and would need to drill. Veldties is seems is going to be our only alternative. Luckily my back yard is a small forest!
So glad I have a septic system which means I am “off-grid” and don’t rely on the muni. Huge bonus… Plus I am the highest house on my “hill”
It is rumoured the famous SAB CEO Meyer Khan once said: Sh1t has the habit of rolling downhill, it never rolls uphill…
I guess that is a plus if you stay in a rural area and already have a septic system.
Mine works fine for my own household, but if the pawpaw hits the fan and the neighbours find out they can come “visit” you I don’t think it is going to cope well.
my dad always told me not to buy the house at the bottom of the hill.
A work mate once told me a story of a house down the road from him in Roodepoort that was at the bottom of the hill and one day something went wrong in the sewer lines and the manhole at this house pushed open and the whole neighborhood’s basically covered their entire garden
My brother is a plumber - he has a callout where the most he could do was hit a big hole in the back of the bathroom wall with a sledgehammer and wait… The manhole didn’t release the pressure and it ALL pushed up through the toilet in the bathroom.
The house across the street from us has this problem. When the sewage pumps all break it floods out in their garden and swimming pool … its horrible. It makes me glad we are a bit higher up.
I also had a rethink on why I got solar. Originally, going back to 2008, it was UPS’es, to keep on working.
Back then I wondered, so how does one recharge said UPS batts with solar, as Eskom then already cost a pretty penny to recharge my 4 x 105ah Royal batteries? Panels were like R38 per watt, MPPT, what is that?
So over time, the system obviously grew cause that is what humans do.
With all I’ve learned, Eskom, hearing of how all over SA things are failing, if I was to redo it all:
The big consumers:
- Gas cooking.
- Gas geysers … with as many legally stored gas bottles … and then some.
The low-hanging fruit:
3) Smaller battery/solar system for fridges, lights, alarm, internet, and some PCs. Obviously, having spent the money on the lowest consumption devices.
… I’m not undoing anything … money has been spent.
Today, if anyone asks me, what are my 2 cents?
Get a solar system for an ROI … reduce that cost by seriously considering gas - if your supply is dependable, or you can drive to get gas, you can store maybe a year’s worth onsite.
Skoolgeld. School Money. If I did the “responsible” thing in 2013, and I took that policy money and reinvested it into my retirement (as you are supposed to), and I didn’t blow it on a solar system, I would not be where I am today, I would not be working in the industry I am working in. Instead I let my heart get into the equation, and here we are today. Why I got into solar, and why I needed it… were hugely different things.