The past few years of load shedding and grid instability has seen many South Africans looking for solar systems to provide them, and their families and businesses, with a reliable and consistent source of power, and most recently, with a return to higher levels of power outages and the increased price of electricity, it has now become an absolute no-brainer to install solar if one has the means.
Additionally, South African building regulations are now also demanding a revised level of alternative energy usage in newly constructed structures, which is only expected to grow due to changes in power generation and distribution restrictions.
“For anyone buying a new home, it truly is now the ideal time to find one with a solar system installed, or alternately, to seriously consider installing solar power into the home”, says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond. “Solar power is a cost-effective, reliable and environmentally-friendly power supply alternative, and it will enhance both your quality of life as well as the value of your home.”
In the same way a homebuyer would assess key factors in a prospective home purchase, such as the condition of the roof or gutters, or the structural condition of the walls, an existing solar system also needs proper evaluation.
Assess the solar power system
“Before finalising the purchase of a new home, it is vital to thoroughly assess the existing solar power system installed in the property,” says Coetzee. You may need to outsource this process if you are not clued up on how to assess all aspects of the system.
During initial assessment, consider the system capacity and capabilities, battery storage capacity, and the system integration and automation.
Evaluate the efficiency and maintenance
Solar power systems, like most technology, require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. “Make sure to inspect solar panels for any damage, wear, or deterioration. Ask for maintenance records and warranties to determine the system’s overall health and potential future costs,” advises Coetzee.
An inverter is a critical component of the solar power system, so it is vital to verify the condition and efficiency of the inverter, as it converts DC power generated by the panels into usable AC power for household use. It is also important to understand the maintenance needs of the solar power system, including cleaning the panels, checking battery levels, and conducting periodic inspections. Ask about any ongoing maintenance contracts or service agreements, along with the warranties provided for the system and its components.
Consider financial aspects
If the home that you are buying does not have an existing solar system, but you would like to install one, it is crucial to be informed about the financial implications of a solar power system, says Coetzee.
“Assess the system’s potential financial benefits, calculate the estimated savings on electricity bills and evaluate the system’s payback period to determine if it aligns with your long-term financial goals.”
New system financing options
Explore all the various financing options available for solar installations, such as cash, loans, subscription agreements, or rent-to-own options, and make sure that you understand the associated terms, interest rates, and repayment schedules.
Tax incentives are a motivating factor to invest in a solar system as this is the Government’s way to encourage households to invest in clean electricity generation capacity, which can supplement the electricity supply.
When using BetterBond’s services to apply for a home loan, your application is submitted to multiple banks. You then compare these offers and choose the best one for you. In the same way, you can make use of BetterBond’s partnership with Hohm Energy – SA’s largest network of vetted qualified solar installers who offer a convenient end-to-end solar service with the using only quality Tier-1 solar products.
Hohm Energy will not only assist you by designing the most optimal solar system for your needs but they will also perform maintenance and service the warranties for the lifetime of your solar system’s components. Once you have your quote, it will form part of the loan amount that BetterBond helps you to secure from a bank.
“Whether you have already invested in a property and are considering a solar power system, or you are in the market, looking for a property with an existing solar power system, such an investment can provide numerous benefits, including reduced reliance on the national grid, potential cost savings, and a more sustainable lifestyle,” concludes Coetzee.