The past week the International Energy Agency (IEA) declared solar to be the cheapest electricity in history while coal-dependent Eskom swung to an R20.5 billion loss for the last financial year (R20500000000 loss in 365 days) pushing their debt burden to R484 billion (the money required to service the debt alone runs into the tens of billions annually).
The numbers above indicate a very bad situation, basically, a black hole with no end in sight, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter is either a liar or incompetent when he says that everything is going to be OK, incompetent in the sense that he does not fully understand the magnitude of the situation in which he finds himself in, a liar for not telling the truth by kicking people off the gravy train (his lies may not be driven by malice but by fear, there is so much money involved, that there is no telling what people will do to stay on the gravy train).
Let me be clear: Eskom is not going to be fixed anytime soon. The current situation suits many powerful people just fine and they will do whatever they have to to maintain the status quo it is up to the individual to become less dependant on the electricity that Eskom generates. If you look at the last year electricity both went up and we had frequent 3-times-a-day powercuts.
As many things as possible needs to be weaned off Eskom. Starting with businesses needs to be less reliable, homes, but don’t just think as a whole. Your solar solution can start small: modems, pool pumps, geysers, borehole water pumps, solar for lighting, solar for water heating, solar for cooking. There is money to be made in the manufacturing of solutions, import, distribution, wholesale and retail. Even for the small business, there is money to be made by simply offering the installation service.
We know that competition in this industry has heated up, and we discussed before when you researching an industry, you need to look for gaps in the market. We know solar panels, inverters, batteries those are the basics but there is a lot of competition. That being said, we’ve often thought that only wealthy or well-off people go “off-grid” I think we are going to see more and more middle-to-lower income people do the same not because they want to because they have to and for that, we need more affordable solutions. Yes, some people are already making things cheaper importing “second-life” batteries that came out of electric cars or buses but because Eskom generates 95% of SA’s power we are talking a target market that runs into the millions: every single homeowner.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if you are an entrepreneur looking for the next opportunity this in an industry you need to take a long hard look at. Electricity in SA is only going to get more and more expensive as the government make consumers pay for their incompetence and corruption.