Electricity directly produced from the sun for on-demand use
Electricity can now be directly produced from the sun and converted for on-demand use in all building types. The systems available can be independent (stand-alone) of the main electricity supply grid or work in conjunction with your existing electricity supply. The system is made up of solar panels (photovoltaic panels), an inverter which converts DC power from the solar panels to AC power for conventional use and in some cases, batteries, which store electricity that is not immediately used.
While this technology is still relatively new to South Africa, advances in technology abroad have seen complete roofing systems with an integrated photovoltaic system plus a solar thermal water heating system. Glazing (windows) and roof tiles can now also be purchased with integrated energy producing photovoltaic cells.
In South Africa, Eskoms Demand Managing Funding program does offer rebates for photovoltaic system installation in specific building categories. The rebates are based on performance. If international trends prevail in Africa, we will see local councils buying electricity back surplus electricity generated from businesses at premium prices in the future. This system allows the business owner to capitalise on such an event, generating extra income for their business.