POWER price increases have encouraged more and more Nelson Mandela Bay electricity users to opt for renewable energy products. Bay renewable energy specialist Terry Billson said solar geysers were now becoming a necessity as hot water accounted for up to 40% of the average household’s electricity demand.
He said lighting made up about 20% and other high-energy usage was linked to things such as pool pumps.
"I think the electricity price increases have resulted in people becoming more conscious about their electricity usage. As the market evolves we find people are looking for solutions and trying to find options on how to save,” he said.
Andrew Barton, financial director of energy solution company Rhino Plastics, said massive savings could be made by changing to energy-efficient products.
"By just changing your shower head to one that is more energy-efficient, people have seen a significant reduction in their water and electricity bill. We have also been fitting them at five-star resorts.”
According to Rob Johnstone at Rhino Plastics, the energy-efficient shower heads can take showers from releasing the standard 19 litres of hot water per minute to six or seven litres per minute.
Solar geysers and heat pumps can last for 10 years while energy-efficient shower heads and geyser blankets have a lifetime guarantee. LED lighting can last five to 10 years.
Barton said consumers could also save by turning down the temperature of their geysers, but not below 52°C because of the threat of bacteria.
Tasol Energy Solutions director Eghardt Terblanche said homes with one to three people should invest in a solar geyser while homes with more occupants should opt for a heat pump.
"If you have more than three people living in the house and they all take a bath you may find your hot water is drained and then it will not be possible for water to be warmed in the evening because there is no sunlight. So, in this case they can use a heat pump, which is not reliant on the sun,” he said.
Barton said lighting was another significant area where savings could be made and that more consumers were moving towards LED lighting, which could save consumers up to 85% on lighting costs.
"Traditional bulbs produce 80% heat and 20% light ... But with LED lights it is 80% light and 20% heat.”
Barton said water-heating pumps worked on the same principle as air-conditioners, but instead of discharging hot air into the atmosphere, water-heating pumps compressed the air, warmed it up and used it to heat water in the geyser. Heat pumps can use up to 67% less electricity than electrical element geysers and cost in the region of R12000 to R18000.
"At the moment it is the more affluent consumer who is buying them but Eskom offers a rebate of about R3000 and there are other funding options available. ”
Summerstrand guesthouse owner Andre Saaiman said he had cut his electricity bill from R2500 to R800 a month by using energy-saving initiatives including solar water geysers, sun panels, a wind turbine, energy-saving bulbs and batteries.
Meanwhile, Eskom demand-side management manager Gary Dysel said about 100 electricity users in the city had made use of packages to qualify for rebates since September last year. He said people were moving towards renewable energy options due to power price hikes.