The solar energy boom comes to holiday homes across South Africa

As South Africa’s rooftop solar capacity skyrocketed by *349% from March 2022 to June 2023, the country’s solar wave is now reaching popular holiday destinations as demand for integrating sustainable energy solutions into holiday homes grows, says Ross Mains-Sheard, Co-Founder and CEO of Versofy SOLAR

Holiday home with solar panels on roof.
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

With the festive season around the corner, the trend of solar-powered holiday destinations is gaining momentum. “We’ve expanded our national footprint throughout 2023 in tandem with demand from coastal towns, such as our most adopted area the Garden Route, and expanding into areas in the Eastern Cape like St Francis Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay and Kenton-on-sea; in KwaZulu-Natal in areas like Ballito and Salt Rock; as well as popular inland areas such as Hazyview, White River and Hoedspruit,” says Mains-Sheard. 

Ross Mains-Sheard, Co-Founder and CEO of Versofy SOLAR.
Ross Mains-Sheard, Co-Founder and CEO of Versofy SOLAR.

Incorporating solar into holiday homes is becoming an important consideration for homeowners, especially in light of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) granting Eskom an 18.65% tariff hike in 2023, and an upcoming 12.74% increase in April 2024. “Solar energy offers a sustainable and economical alternative for both exclusive-use and rental holiday homes, ensuring uninterrupted power for essential amenities. Sites like Airbnb and Booking.com have added a search filter for solar-powered properties which shows this is something holiday makers factor into their choice of a property to rent. And unlike generators or UPS systems, solar installations provide a quiet, fuel-free, and hassle-free energy solution,” he says. 

Mains-Sheard notes that homeowners are starting to see the financial benefits of solar in addition to the environmental ones. “Solar-equipped properties are increasingly sought after in the short-term rental market. Guests are willing to pay a premium for the assurance of reliable power, resulting in a return on investment for homeowners.” 

While the exact resale value of a property depends on a number of factors, for those who own their own holiday home, enhancing their home’s sustainability credentials not only reduces running costs but also increases its market appeal. “When it becomes possible for homeowners to sell excess solar power back to the grid, there will be even more incentive to power a home that isn’t occupied all year round.” 

Installing a solar system is always a significant decision. Mains-Sheard says it’s essential to choose a knowledgeable and supportive solar provider who has an established track record and expertise, from recommending the right solar system and installation to post-installation support. “For holiday homeowners, maintenance concerns can be daunting, especially when a property is not always occupied. It’s important to choose a provider who can assist in ensuring your solar system functions flawlessly, regardless of your presence.” 

With a holiday home, having flexibility around product and pricing can help consumers reach a more considered decision. “There are different options in this space, including Solar-as-a-Service and Rent-to-own, which cater to diverse financial situations and preferences,” says Mains-Sheard. 

Considering the expected increase in electricity tariffs, Versofy SOLAR has introduced a year-end promotional offer where customers can take advantage of free solar installation before the end of the year without the usual activation fee, deferring their first payment until January 2024. “This initiative is part of our commitment to helping South Africans embrace a lighter, more sustainable lifestyle ahead of the holiday season.” 

Versofy SOLAR is at the forefront of the renewable energy movement, making a tangible impact on SA’s transition to a greener future, one home at a time.

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