By John Fraser
With South Africans facing daily misery due to rolling power cuts, and power utility Eskom in the deepest financial doo-doo, it would be nice to think that our banks would be riding to the rescue.
Solar panels are one of the cleanest and greenest ways of energy generation – but where are the aggressive ads, the phone campaigns, the prompts every time you log-on to internet banking to see how broke you are?
The economic case for solar installation/conversion is increasingly compelling.
As the cost of Eskom-generated electricity shoots up in multiples of the inflation rate, the cost of solar installations is steadily falling.
Yes, there is a high initial outlay, but the business case for reducing your dependence on the grid is strong.
Add the bonus that home-generation reduces both consumption from, and reliance on, Eskom – and you have a winner.
In time we will be moving to more and more ownership of electric vehicles. These need charging, and what wonder if you can do this from the sun, instead of relying on the unreliable, and costly, Eskom.
Add a few storage batteries to your kit, and you can keep the lights burning and the TV blaring throughout the period in which Eskom decrees that you should sit in the dark.
But back to the financing…..
Banks and related institutions are falling over one another to offer (the solvent) loans to buy houses and cars.
These can be structured so that there are manageable monthly payments, and once the loan is paid off, the customer owns the asset.
But where are the finance packages for converting your home to solar?
They may exist, but they are bloody well-hidden.
What I want to see is a crusade by the banks to pour funds into lending cash for solar conversions – not just in homes, but for commercial buildings as well.
Just as you are steered towards financing when you buy a car, so there should be an oven-ready, simple and affordable finance deal on offer to every eligible home-owner with solar aspirations.
Solar is the future.
If only the banks would stop living in the past!