It should be simple to understand, but when it comes to solar renewables, particularly solar water heaters, and to a lesser extent rooftop solar PV, the question of what it ‘actually’ costs seems to get lost. Almost always the first question is ‘What does it cost?”. End consumers and even government tenders are fixated by the ‘sticker’ cost, in much the same way as looking at a car in the showroom, or even a utility item like a washing machine. The wrong question is being asked. The far more meaningful question is “What is the Return on the Investment”.
Droughts, floods, hail, extreme storms, increasing frequency of hurricanes, tornadoes and weather catastrophes are all problems for the insurance industry. Climate change is happening, and with temperatures in Johannesburg reaching all time records, at the time of writing 37°C (October 6th 2015), following Cape Town in March 2015 of 42,3 °C, combined at the same time with record floods in the South of France and in South Carolina, skeptics take note. Whether the cause is global warming, El Nino, from natural causes such as volcanoes, or more probably from man made carbons, nobody can conclusively prove, but the probability lies with both.
A ‘perfect energy storm’ is heading towards South Africa. A combination of factors are challenging power supplies, delayed new power generation, a backlog of maintenance, an ageing fleet, water shortages and drought, coal quality and supply, a shortage of power generation across the SADC region, a controversial nuclear procurement program, a delayed gas program (‘fracking’ and offshore), amongst others all contribute to an ongoing razor-edge balancing act for supply and demand of electrical power. This can only benefit the growth of consumer renewables.