It was a cold winter’s morning when Dewald and his full team, from Electrical Solutions in Port Elizabeth arrived for the final leg of The Big Solar Install. This was to be the day that we get past Eskom; that we finally get to a place where we can carry on with our lives as per how we as normal tax paying citizens should.

The solar panels

Two solar panels up and running, on the north facing roof and at a decent angle.

The solar panels were already up, so it was straight back into the wiring. The electrical requirements were that the plug points and outlets that were unnecessary (kettle, toaster etc) would not be turned on during a load shed, but the necessities that we need as a young family would still be fully operational. As mentioned in our previous update – – my wife and I had chosen the following necessities:

The TV in the lounge, as well as the TV in the bedroom;

The majority of the lights around the house, especially the outside lights for security reasons, the house alarm, the fridge, the Internet modem and Wi-Fi, and the plug points in the office to keep the laptops ad cellphones charged.

The back-up system, almost ready to.

Solar panels feeding energy, it was time to wire up.

There was no need for the stove as we worked off gas, and the water pump, that pumps our rainwater into the system, could be circumvented. Having said that, this might need to be looked at with the very real looming prospect of water shedding in the Eastern Cape. A solar panel to drive the water pump would be the answer here. After a few more hours of climbing around and dropping cables, the necessary switches had been isolated, and the inverter had been installed. The battery pack was in, and the solar panels were sending juice into the system. It all seemed to be good.


Dewald dropped the Eskom system for testing purposes, and his team walked around the house to check all the lights and TV’s and Internet power, and it was all good. The system was working! I had done it!

OK, ‘we’ had done it.

Genergy’s Rowan Loretz from the Genergy Eastern Cape sales department was there for the turn on, and to show me the basics of the system. We went through the settings, and we scrolled through a few readings, and he showed me what the battery pack was storing and how much energy the solar panels were adding to the total, but being a simple and somewhat jaded old man, I needed a stripped-down version of the workings of the inverter, the solar panels and the entire system. Rowan was happy to oblige with the real basics, and this, dear grasshopper, is the essence of what you want to know.

Rowan and The System, about to switch on.

Rowan and The System, about to switch on.

  1. I use the EskomSePush app to tell me when there is going to be loadshedding (
  2. When there is a forecast loadshedding, my wife and I do nothing at all in preparation, apart from maybe pouring a glass of Chardonnay and defrosting something in the microwave for dinner if need be.
  3. When Eskom renege on their side of the deal (we pay for power, they give us power) and drop the electricity, we have a seamless switch over.
  4. There is no dimming of lights, flickering, Internet having to be reset, or the alarm system making some crazy beeping sound and Calibre Security phoning in on all of the lines to see if everything is A-OK. The plugs stay on in the office, and life carries on.
  5. The hair dryer and the ice machine draw quite a lot of power and can’t be used for the two hours of loadshedding – First World Problems.
  6. The work carries on, the Internet continues to hum our high speed ADSL and we continue with our productivity levels in the office.

We were done, and it was an extremely satisfying place to be in. The only problem now was that the Eskom offices in PE were striking, and as a result they were refusing to initiate loadshedding until their demands were met.

I know, read that last sentence again.

We. Weren’t. Going. To. Get. Any. Loadshedding. Due. To. Striking. Eskom. Staff.