Solar Power - a possible solution for SA?
I have just read the interesting article about a new solar plant approved in Canada. Now I'm wondering - if they can do it before 2010, should South Africa not aim for the same strategy? For those who don't know yet - we are struggling with power shortages that really started to show it's ugly head in 2006. I don't think we will ever know the real truth about who's to blame, but to solve the short term problems, it seems there are various options - one being solar.
Unfortunately it is expensive - in financial value at least. The article does mention however that "cheap" energy is relative, as we often exclude the impact to the environment in our cost analysis. So, in the very long term, the solar (and other similar solutions) might prove cheaper.
Now here is my other observations summarized:
- If the Canadians can do this by 2010, so can we (anything is possible if you really put your heart to it)
- South Africa has an abundance of sun (and wind)
- We also have a very long shore line which makes for a good potential energy source
For now, I have bought my 6KVA petrol generator as a standby. More people in my area are investing in "backup" generators. If I could get my hands on a diesel generator in the same price region, I would definitely also gone the Biodiesel route - which I also think is a great alternative especially for DYI people like myself. I friend of mine calculated that after paying for the initial equipment (roughly ZAR5500 for a "starter" kit - produces 100l per day), the biodiesel will cost about 1/4 of the price compared to regular diesel. Unfortunately, diesel generators are still more then 10 times as expensive as petrol generators, and they are also more aimed toward industrial use.
Hey - maybe there's a new market here... Wish I had the time to investigate it :)