Load shedding blues: There is nothing more disappointing than when you are in the middle of your work or your favourite TV show then boom, out of nowhere, electricity is gone. That annoying Eskom timetable then springs back to memory and you just know your plans for the day are ruined.
It’s even more stressful if you own a smart home. With all the gadgets around the house, you need reliable energy to stay connected to keep your systems going. For almost seven years now, load shedding has been on and off, and it seems the problem is not going away anytime soon. What solutions are available to manage the blackouts?
In the past years, we have come to see solar and battery energy gaining popularity. In a world revolving around technology, power has become a very crucial element in our lives. Worse, with the current pandemic, the lockdown has become part of us and working remotely is the only way to keep our lives going.
In this light, retailers like Makro have been of great help in providing affordable load shedding products, from solar panels and batteries to inverter kits with LED emergency globes and generators etc. Other power companies are drawing out options for wind power or gas to make life easier for us. Going off the grid may be the best solution if you want to keep the load shedding headache at bay.
Now, if you rely on the internet to run and monitor your home, you need to seriously consider the following alternative energy solutions to keep your devices and appliances on despite Eskom’s shananigans.
Devices with internal or backup batteries
Devices such as laptops and cellphones help us to stay connected even without power because they have internal batteries. From this tech, there is now a solution for our WiFi routers. They now come with a battery pack which is charged when there is electricity. When there is a power-cut, the battery instantly comes into play without the router powering off, thereby keeping you connected the whole time.
As such, most gadgets we use in the home now have backup batteries. It may be prudent for you to look for these if the devices you own do not already have these batteries installed. Battery powered gadgets plus a battery powered router means you stay connected despite electricity interruptions.
Green energy solutions
For years now, scientists have been preaching about how we should switch to greener and cleaner or renewable sources of energy for our homes. Green energy is from natural sources, like the sun. Clean energy ensures that no pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Renewable energy is from sources that need consistent replenishment like hydropower. Wind power is the most green, clean and renewable source of energy we are being encouraged to adopt, but how easily accessible and practical is the equipment needed to power up a home? How close is South Africa to bringing this technology home? Quite far
Our next best option is solar energy. In South Africa, most of our days are sunny throughout the year. Even in winter, we still experience some sunlight that is good enough to power solar panels and produce enough power to keep our homes alight and functional. Solar energy is not only cleaner, but it is cheaper as well. From this energy source, you can forget about monthly Eskom electric bills, or keeping up with prepaid electricity. Here’s how it works:
The solar panel that you install has two primary functions: absorbing sunlight through photovoltaic cells and then converting the solar energy into DC energy, which is storable. Then, through a network of electrical wires, the DC energy is transported from the panels to the batteries where it is stored for future use.
The primary function of the inverter is to convert DC energy into AC energy. Inverter technology has advanced over the years to ensure your solar system runs at an optimal performance level through data monitoring and advanced utility controls. (Load shedding blues)
What’s a solar unit without its backup batteries? Your battery bank does nothing more than just store excess energy and gives it out when your solar panel is not making any electricity. The beauty of battery power is, the more batteries you have connected to your solar panels, the more power you can have stored up. This then translates to more power that you can have inverted and thus, you can have a wider range of connected devices.
Our load shedding blues are far from over. If it’s possible to get off the grid, get yourself a solar power solution that will keep you connected. The great thing about solar energy kits is that you have an array of choices; from lights only, to lights and one or two other plugs to power your TV and refrigerator, etc. Let’s keep our alternative energy solutions clean and green to conserve our beloved nation.
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