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Fixes for the future | Make the Switch

South Africa is a country blessed with year-round sunshine and yet solar energy has been slow to take off. But with the cost of photovoltaic solar panels falling and their output efficiency rising, homeowners investing in the switch to solar energy may soon find themselves in the happy position of having too much power on their hands. 

Andrew Murray, Director, Switch Energy

That’s a problem Switch is hoping to help with. As solar photovoltaic panels become more widespread, the innovation in Switch is its ability to monitor production and trade energy. 

“South Africa is one of the world’s worst carbon emitters, largely because Eskom mostly produces electricity using coal-powered stations,” says Andrew Murray, a director at Switch Energy. “There’s now a financial and an environmental reason to install solar panels. Until now, it hasn’t been possible in South Africa to enable houses that install their own solar to trade their own electricity.”

For instance, if one resident’s solar panels generate surplus power, it can be sold to a neighbour who relies on power from the grid. The resident with solar panels offsets the cost of investment, the neighbour receives carbon-free electricity and the drain on the national grid is reduced. 

Aimed initially at residential estates, this innovative mobile platform lets property managers accurately monitor and bill individual households for their consumption of water, electricity and other utilities. They can also dynamically adjust tariffs based on changing water restrictions and levies. 

Consumers using smart geysers and water controllers are also empowered to monitor their consumption in real-time, allowing them to manage everything in their household from power usage to leak detection. 

“Engaging with consumption makes people more conscious of how much they consume – and thus their environmental impact,” adds Andrew. 

For more on Switch Energy visit their website: switch.org.za

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