Keeping in mind that ESKOM must be one of the most unreliable power grids on earth, we live in constant fear of the next load shedding. I have tried to buffer this uncertainty by installing solar power, which is conceivably the best thing I have ever done. Yes, it is expensive, but I predict that things will not improve in the medium term, and so it is time to look at what the future holds for self-sufficiency.
Recently The Guardian published an article of what lies ahead in terms of the house of the future, and I have taken a few indicators from this piece. We tend to live in a comfort zone with our existing appliances, but it is now the time to start thinking of the future.
The first, and obvious change will be to install solar panels to drive a battery system. The costs are tumbling in this arena, and storage batteries are also becoming more affordable. Consider this option, by starting small, and invest in an expandable system.
Heat pumps are getting more sophisticated by the day and is an option if you do not have the funds for a full solar array.
Isolation is the next step in saving energy. We have wonderful summers in South Africa, and tend to have large windows, which unfortunately radiates precious heat in winters. Make sure that your house is properly insulated and save energy.
The next step is to consider induction stoves, which makes a lot of sense should you have an existing solar array. I have a gas stove, and gas for water heating, but this system is tied to non-renewable energy at the moment but this can off course be offset by building your own biogas generator.
Taking measured and planned steps will offset the installation costs, but, should you be building a new house, it is important to discuss this with your architect, in order to install those measures which you can afford, but also making sure that your house is pre-planned for later energy improvements.
I wish to thank Greensun for the initial sponsorship of my system.