All this talk of battery power and solar, of renewable energy and driving past the wind farms daily, had to lead somewhere. The first path it took me to was the bank. To get a back-up system to get us through the load shedding, was going to cost some money, of which there was very little around. Is very little around.

The bank manager was friendly and full of smiles and compliments as to my weight loss and general well being as he denied my request for a small loan. It turns out that I did something wrong with one of my accounts or cards or something bounced somewhere in the mists of time, and I had been flagged. Maybe it was my wife. I know she has accounts at a couple of clothing stores, and tends to get a bit carried away at times. Either way, computer says no.

Isn’t it weird to be taking chunks of money out of your bond to buy something like electricity, or should I say, a battery to store electricity. We pay so much for power, and get hit by increases and taxes all the time, and now we have to buy something to store power while Eskom fiddles around and has meetings to discuss their management bonuses and signs Trillion Rand deals with the Russians to develop nuclear stations all over the country. No one is going to help us, so we have to help ourselves. The Eskom-stated 2-year load shedding forecast could be a lot longer, so it’s literally sink or swim.

So it was time to talk to Genergy. Yes, the very website you’re on.

We met, Genergy and I, and discussed my problems and needs over a few cups of coffee (I have lots of problems) and devised a few solutions and options.

Eventually, after a few thorough fact-finding missions a fairly simple solution was brought forward. I was to get a 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.

What is all this I hear you ask? I had the same question. So let’s break it down.

There are two sides to a grid-tied system. On the one side you have the solar. It goes like this:

The sun shines on a solar panel, creating electricity.

This electricity is then stored in batteries, in your house.

Then a special machine called an inverter converts the battery current (DC) to electricity we can use in the house (AC).

This solar electricity is connected to your house and with the use of an AC coupler, your TV and fridge and some lights stay on.

On the other side you have Eskom providing power to the house, and it too is captured and stored in batteries for later use during load shedding.

So in simple terms, I will have some batteries in my house. They will be charged by Eskom, as well as by the sun. When I can, I can add on more photovoltaic panels to diminish the need to take electricity from Eskom, and get more from the sun.

Photovoltaic: photo means light, and voltaic means electricity, so a photovoltaic panel is a panel that makes electricity from light – a solar panel.

This was to be my solution to load shedding, for now. Can’t wait to get the Genergy crew at my house and start beating Eskom.