What else is there that we can do to make load shedding a bit easier for us all? It’s cold and grey across South Africa and it looks like we’re setting up for a big pile-up load shedding later this week. Here are a few other things that we can do to make life a little bit easier to get some energy while the power goes out.

Wood fires.

A fireplace in the house works wonders when there is no electricity for heaters and heated blankets etc. Rather stock up on the rooikrants and the firelighters to get you through the cold snaps approaching. If you don’t have one, it’s not that difficult to retro-fit a sealed Morso unit, and they pump out the heat.

Solar Geyser

The kind that sits on your roof, has a couple of photovoltaics, and has your geyser set on a timer, so that it doesn’t keep working throughout the freezing hours of the night. A solar geyser can knock off up to 40% of your electricity bill, and still keeps working, for a while, when Eskom hits the off switch. There’s usually enough for a shower and to bath the kids.

Gas stove

A gas stove means that you can keep on cooking when the power is out. Your kids still get fed warm food in the cold evenings, you can make bacon and eggs in the morning, and if you need to heat up milk for the baby it can be done on the stove as well. These days more and more people are opting for gas. It’s relatively cheap as well.


Might not be ideal when it’s raining, but if push comes to shove, and the sun is out and it’s not too freezing, those chops and wors can still be cooked, and the mielies can get wrapped up in foil and cooked on the side as well. You can even do toasted sarmies fairly easily.

Black piping.

When summer does come around, when it starts to show its face and the sun changes angle ever so slightly, then we can turn on the pool heating. Just a couple of black piping units, on my roof, through which the pool water travels and gets heated by the rays of the sun. It doesn’t cost much, gives a few extra weeks of pool time, and is another way to utilize solar that anyone with a pool can do. It’s free heating.

Backup unit

Then, and only then, do we look at the backup system. My system, the 4kW back up system installed, with a 3.6kwh battery bank. It was to be a grid-tied system with two photovoltaic panels with micro inverters. I have spoken about it earlier. Combined with the three Jojo’s and the 15,000 liters that I can store whenever it rains, I reckon my little hovel can be classified as fairly green. It’s all the little bits and pieces that help to keep things going whenever Eskom pulls the pin.