Eskom supplies 95% of South Africa’s electricity and as the national utility battles its own instability, power shortages and policy uncertainty remain a continuing threat to business and economic growth in the country. It remains to be seen how the newly appointed CEO, Andre de Ruyter, can work with government (as the sole shareholder) and his colleagues to stabilise the energy provider. One thing is certain, power will not be getting any cheaper. Solar power has now become a viable, if not an essential option for business as capital investment costs decrease and solar providers compete to offer solutions.

International solar energy company, SolarSaver, has taken the approach of offering its clients solar photovoltaic solutions on a rent-to-own basis, eliminating the need for any capital investment on the part of clients. Customised systems are designed and installed free-of-charge and clients then only pay for the cheaper, greener power that is produced.

Web Photo SolarSaver Constantia Uitsig original

SolarSaver provides customised rooftop solar photovoltaic solutions to corporate and industrial customers in Namibia and South Africa on a rent-to-own basis.

SolarSaver has to date invested over R250 million in installations across Namibia and South Africa and now manages the largest fleet of self-financed rooftop installations in Southern Africa, with clients from fuel stations to manufacturing businesses to large shopping centres. While most of SolarSaver’s business was initially in Namibia, substantial investment backing from the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF), a US$302 million private equity fund established by Remgro Limited and Phuthuma Nhleko that focuses on infrastructure and energy-related investments in Africa, has allowed the company to grow its South African portfolio substantially as well.

Tim Frankish, Managing Director of SolarSaver notes that with South Africa’s electricity prices having increased by over 350% in the last decade, a solution that reduces this operational cost is very attractive to businesses. “Our solar tariffs are significantly cheaper than the relative cost of grid power, so our clients get to start saving on their electricity bills from day one,” says Frankish. “Our rates then only increase in line with CPI inflation, so clients’ savings grow each year as grid tariffs increase significantly beyond that.”

SolarSaver also remains responsible for all ongoing monitoring, maintenance and insurance. “It’s in our interest to ensure that the photovoltaic systems are operating at peak performance and that translates into better savings for our clients.

“We like to think of SolarSaver as offering ‘capex-free, hassle-free’ solar solutions,” says Frankish.

SolarSaver provides customised rooftop solar photovoltaic solutions to corporate and industrial customers in Namibia and South Africa through its proprietary zero-capital financing model. To date it has completed over 130 projects most of which are managed in terms of rent-to-own contracts. Installations include systems for shopping centres, service stations, hotels, hospitals and factories. Sedgeley Energy is the technical services provider to Solar Saver and is responsible for the installation, administration and maintenance of the rental portfolio.

While initial solutions focus on daytime power generation through grid-tied solar, SolarSaver is already starting to update existing systems to include batteries as that technology becomes more cost-effective. “Our long-term goal is to provide our clients with 24-hour power solutions through fully-financed, customised solar-battery systems,” says Frankish. “We’re not looking to sell expensive quick-fixes – we’re offering to invest our own capital to provide them with long-term solutions. Grid-tied solar doesn’t solve load-shedding issues, but we believe that by partnering with businesses and investing with a long-term view, we can provide a real alternative to Eskom.”

For more information visit: https://www.solar-saver.net/

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