South Africa

2023’s essential rental amenity – Solar panels

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Solar panels on a roof

Access to electricity is becoming less and less reliable, making home energy generation look very attractive. How can residential rental agencies help?

Eskom has forecast load shedding up to stage 8 this winter. That would mean 12 hours without electricity per day. Even in Eskom’s best-case scenario, load shedding will range from stage 3 to stage 5 until the end of August.

And the problem is likely to get even worse before it gets better. Eskom’s new national standards document, currently under consideration by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, proposes 16 stages of load shedding.

A shining opportunity

Not surprisingly, growing numbers of people are looking for other ways to keep the lights on. Home solar generation boomed last year, and manufacturers are reporting record demand for battery storage.

Besides upgrading existing properties, people are also choosing new homes with their own energy generation and storage – and a survey of agents by Pam Golding Properties reveals that more than two thirds of buyers are willing to pay extra for them. According to the survey, solar panels are the most sought-after energy security option for homebuyers, ahead of generators.

Energy could be a major competitive advantage for rented properties as well. Landlords who install solar panels or batteries could attract higher-paying tenants and increase the value of their property, should they decide to sell.

This year could be the best time to invest in solar. Thanks to a new tax credit launched in March, individuals who install qualifying photovoltaic panels at a residence can claim a tax rebate of 25% of the cost, up to a maximum of R15 000. Both landlords and renters are eligible – but tenants should note that solar panels and other permanently-installed energy-saving devices become the landlord’s property unless the tenant agrees an addendum with the landlord to remove them at the end of the lease.

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