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Will solar power get the backing it requires?

In a country battling to meet its burgeoning demands for electricity and one that boasts more than 2,500 hours of sunshine every year, one may well ask why the uptake of supplementary solar power (also known as photovoltaic energy or PV) has been so slow. One of the answers to this conundrum is, of course, the cost of the initial investment.

The infrastructure required is significant and the savings you make on your home or business’s electricity bill can take between five and ten years to cancel out the capital expenditure. Coupled to this is the fact that, unlike the rebates Eskom offer on solar water heating geysers, there is currently no capital rebate programme being offered on expenditure for other solar power generation projects. On top of this, Government and Eskom have not yet established legislation or a mechanism that will enable private or business energy generators to feed their surplus electricity back into the grid and be paid for it.

But according to industry reports, alternative energy generation from renewable sources such as solar and wind has become significantly cheaper over the last couple of years, and its expected to continue to fall in price.

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