Pay as you go solar power

On October 4, 2011, in Energy News, Solar Power, by admin

As with most cell phone users, pay as you go is a common way of life. This very same idea of paying for something only when you need it is filtering through to solar power. Pay as you go solar power can offer a more realistic option for families in African countries due to its affordability.

IndiGo, a system that consists of a low-cost flexible plastic 2.5W solar panel that charges a battery is connected to a USB mobile phone charger and an LED lamp that provides around 5 hours of light from one day’s charge.

The IndiGo system was developed by a solar energy firm called Eight19. Eight19, which is based in Cambridge, UK is offering this innovative new tool to the public at an initial lease fee of $10 per week. Once obtained, users can add credit by buying a scratch card which is validated by sending a text message from their cell phones.

IndiGo is currently being tested in Kenya and should be testing in other African countries in the next few months.


The company also plans to offer higher-powered (50W) systems as the demand for solar energy increases. These higher-powered systems could power a small TV or heater.


Tagged with:  

UK – The Green Deal Finance Company

On October 4, 2011, in Energy News, by admin

A pool of high-end businesses including banks Goldman Sachs and HSBC as well as various UK energy companies have recently announced their plans to open a not-for-profit organisation to finance the British government’s program for home energy efficiency.

This organisation, aptly named “The Green Deal Finance Company” or GDFC will lend money to the suppliers and installers involved in the government program. This provides consumers with a tool to pay for home energy efficiency by offsetting payments for installations through monthly savings on energy bills.

“By minimizing the cost of finance to future accredited Green Deal providers, it will create a highly competitive market that will compete on cost, reliability, lifespan and technology,” said Paul Davies, lead partner on the GDFC at consultancy PwC.

“It will maximize the measures that can be included within the Green Deal and for many potential providers will solve the question of where their finance will come from.”

The various companies that are said to take part in the consortium include British Gas, EDF Energy, RWE and SSE.

The first installations under the Green Deal are expected in the autumn of 2012.

Around a quarter of Britain’s carbon emissions comes from energy used to heat homes.

By the end of this decade, Britain plans to cut carbon emissions 34 percent below 1990 levels, compared with a 7.4 percent reduction achieved in 2010.

More information:

Tagged with:  

Save electrcity, save the world!

On October 4, 2011, in Household, by admin

As people are getting aware of technology and new appliances, the usage of electricity is increasing day by day. But with the increasing consumption of electricity it is also very important for people to be aware on energy saving ideas and the ways in which they can reduce their electricity bills.

Yes, turning off your lights and geyser is a great way to save electricity but buying more advanced and electricity-savvy appliances can make a big impact on your consumption. The general daily usage electrical appliances such as air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves and other countless devices are now available with “Energy saving” labels. These appliances are really energy efficient and offer the end-user value for money. One should be aware of these facts while purchasing their future appliances.

Manufacturers now give more importance to the development and promotion of energy-saving products. Other appliances such as induction cookers, mini ovens and water heaters are really effective in reducing your consumption.

If you have any old appliances in your home, you should consider replacing them with the newer models. It really is a no-brainer to identify the long-term savings when replacing your old appliances with newer models. In the long run they pay off themselves.


Tagged with:  

Technology is increasing and becoming more and more advanced. With the latest technology, the usage of electricity is increased. People are therefore looking at more practical ways of saving electricity. In every country electricity conservation is one of the major issues and energy consumption remains on top of everyone’s minds. It is imperative for us to preserve our natural resources for our future generations.

Manufacturers have provided many energy saving devices to help people in homes, offices and in their businesses. You can use CFLs instead of bulbs as their energy consumption level is extremely low. You can insulate your house as it saves a massive amount off your electricity bill. You can replace your old appliances with the latest appliances as these generally save more electricity. You can use solar heaters on your roofs to utilize the sunlight and you can also put it in your backyard as it will heat up your home in winters. Nowadays, meters which generally measures the total amount of energy consumed by a household, are available for energy saving. You could also use thermostats which monitor the appliances you are using in your home for various temperature controlling purposes. These also let you know if insulation within any part of your home is inadequate.

There are some time dependent devices available in the market like timer switches and motion bars. Some of them work by infrared rays. These devices dim the according to your usage thereby consuming less energy. So if you have decided to save energy and the planet then there are lots of easy ways, smart appliances and advanced technology by which to do it.


washing machineAlthough washing machines do not use as much electricity as tumble dryers do, it still makes up quite a sum. In order to try and calculate the cost of your washing machine you would need to do some serious sums in order to get the actual number. Things such as the kWh of your washing machine and the amount of times you use hot wash over cold wash can drastically affect your calculation and cost.

In order to keep this as simple as we can, we’ll work on averages. Let’s assume you own a front loader 7kg washing machine that uses 1.14kWh. This means that your tumble dryer will consume 1.14kW per hour on average.

For an average household of 4, you would probably expect to do a load a day. Each load can take up to 1.5hrs. This means that you would consume 1.71kW each day. The average cost of electricity is now around 107c/kWh.

Multiplying these two numbers together should give you the cost: 1.71kW * R1.07c = R1.83 per day. Not quite as much as you thought it would be is it?

This number obviously depends on the cycle that you use and at what time you are operating your washing machine. Peak hours in “high demand” seasons could cost you around 50% more than expected.

How to Save Electricity at Work

On August 5, 2011, in Work, by admin

Save Electricity at WorkIt has been reported that electricity consumption in South Africa has increased by 504 GWh (or 2.5%) compared to that of last year. Mpumalanga has produced the biggest demand increase with a consumption increase of 4.2%. This means that more and more electricity is being consumed at a faster rate and we need to start taking measures to save electricity at work. After all, work consumption accounts for a big portion of the overall demand.

Follow these steps in order to save electricity at work:

  • Turn off appliances if you are the last in the office.
  • Switch off the lights when leaving.
  • Use manual doors rather than electric doors.
  • Switch off your computer monitor if you are leaving for a short while.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Doing this will save huge amounts of electricity at your work while keeping you fit!
  • Switch the lights off during the day if your office has enough windows to let the sunshine in.
  • Set computers to go into standby mode if not used within 10 minutes and hibernation mode if not used within 30 minutes.
  • Use programmable climate control instead of having the air-conditioner on all the time.
  • Purchase energy efficient office equipment such as copiers, faxers and scanners.
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs in all sockets.

The amount of energy being produced is not enough to keep up with the increasing demand of South Africa. Although this is not your fault, we all need to step in and try make a difference so that South Africa’s economy can continue to grow. Do your part and save electricity at work!

Tips on Saving Electricity in your Home

On July 27, 2011, in Household, by admin

As Eskom hits South Africa with yet another electricity price increase, it really is becoming more and more necessary to save as much electricity as you can. This will not only help you cope with your ever increasing monthly electricity bill, but it will also reduce overall consumption. Saving electricity in your home is easier than you thought. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can do in order to achieve this.

Switch off your appliances at the plug
Most modern appliances these days, such as TV’s and DVD players, continue to use electricity while off. These appliances remain in “standby” mode and are not completely off. This is a complete waist of electricity. Leaving an appliance on in “standby” mode is the equivalent of leaving a 100Watt light bulb on for a year.

Maintain your appliances
Appliances that arent well maintained and that aren’t running at 100% capacity will end up using more electricity than they should.

Install energy-efficient light bulbs
It’s really simple and will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Hang up your washing
Using a tumble dryer can cost you up to R200 a month. with the current price increase this could rise to as much as R300 depending on your consumption. Hanging up your washing is not only good for your pocket, but good for the environment too. Read our article on how much electricity does a tumble dryer use.

For more tips on saving electricity, read our other article on how to save electricity

To find out how much your tumble dryer is costing you in terms of electricity usage, you first need to find the specifications of your tumble dryer on the internet or within the documentation that came with it. You will notice a number similar to “2800W”. This means that your tumble dryer uses 2.8kW of electricity per hour. The average tumble dryer uses between 2,5kWh to 3.5kWh

The average cost per kWh in South Africa at the moment is currently 52.3c / kWh.

Take the two numbers and multiply them together to get your cost per hour: 2.8kWh x 52.3c = R1.46 / hour

An average household of 4 running a tumble dryer produces around 5 loads of washing a week which can each take 1.5hours to dry. This means that your tumble dryer can be responsible for  a total of between R43.60 to R54.92 of the monthly usage.

Obviously this all depends on what time you are actually using your electricity as the tariffs in South Africa are based on “Peak rates” and “Standard rates” with the peak rates being nearly 400% higher in some instances. Using your tumble dryer at these times can cost you between R170 and R210 for the month.

Look out for the Energy Ratings on the tumble dryer you are looking at buying. Buying a tumble dryer with an “A” rating will cost you the least in the long run. Bosch tumble dryers seem to be leading the way when it comes to energy efficiency.

Tagged with:  

How to save electricity

On April 4, 2011, in Geyser, Household, by admin

How to save electricityMany South Africans have been hit hard by the increasing electricity costs and are now searching for ways to reduce their energy consumption. Below we have listed a number of ways on how to save electricity and bring save your money. Most of these ideas are very simple and everyone is fully aware of them but how many of you actually use them?

  • Turn off your geyser during times when no one is using it. Read more on how to save electricity with your geyser.
  • Change all your bulbs to energy efficient bulbs. They may be slightly more expensive but last a lot longer while saving electricity.
  • Shower instead of bath.
  • When shaving in the shower, reduce the pressure of the water.
  • Switch off ALL lights at night – the kids will not only get over their fears eventually but you will save a lot of money!
  • Switch off your computer instead of letting it go into standby mode.
  • Unplug appliances you are not using such as your microwave.
  • Insulate hot water pipes.
  • Sun dry your washing instead of using the the tumble dryer.
  • Make sure you are using full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher.
  • If you can afford it, install solar panels on your roof.
  • Don’t leave your fridge or freezer doors open for longer than really needed.
  • Lower the temperature of your geyser.

By following these simple steps you can save more than 40% of your current electricity bill every month. For a household that produces a R900/month electricity bill, you’ll save R360 per month – a total of R4320 a year.

Saving Electricity with your Geyser

On March 30, 2011, in Geyser, by admin

Saving Electricity with your GeyserDid you know that your geyser makes up for 39% of all household electricity usage? If your electricity bill is R700 per month, that means that your geyser is costing you at least R273 per month. Making effecient use of your geyser can not only help the environment in a massive way, but also put money back into your pocket for the things your really need.

Enter HomeGuard from PowerGuard. HomeGuard is a new and innovative way to handle the power consumption of your geyser. HomeGuard automatically and effeciently switches off your geyser when no human presence is detected. The motion detector that comes with HomeGuard will switch off your geyser whenever you are not at home. Once it detects that you are back at home, the geyser is than switched back on. This is perfect for both your home and holiday home and allows you to get on with your life without worrying about whether or not you turned the geyser back on or off.

For more information about HomeGuard, click here.

For the more traditional method of saving electricity with your geyser, simply switching it off when you leave for work and back on again when you come back home is the simplest method and can save you thousands in the long run.

Tagged with: