Costs of Getting Off Grid – Is It worth It?

Currently, getting off grid costs between R12000 -R19 000 per KW/H (typically for up to eight hours or less depending on *current supply)  so typically a restaurant with three phase and lighting for the cookers, microwave cookers, three phase cappuccino, ovens and single phase, computers, lights, tills, ovens, chip fryers, toasters and the like will cost between R750 000 – R1.5million in addition to the cost of outfitting the restaurant.

For an average home this cost is reduced when you build from the ground up as it then becomes part of the design, so less is wasted through heat losses and the need for air-conditioning,

By Building with these factors in mind you wont need to spend as much because the load on the electricity wont be as high, typically people think gas , oil or other forms of heating.

What is better however is to find two or more uses for everything you can, for example a Gym has a sauna and steam room, use the house-3bed-entertainer-flats-ground-floor30by27mheat generated from those to heat the pool and through an electronic control system use a combination control and temperature monitoring system to also heat the geysers. Multiple savings that means the solar and electric power never wastes a thing.

Just as we recommend for security, make your home and business easy to save electricity with by using simple smart ideas to live with, such as using the water based underfloor heating to stop the use of free standing heaters which are hugely inefficient.

Double insulated walls to help reduce the need for heating and cooling and heat and cooling capture system to use the energy exchange to heat swimming pools through ground heat pumps and even generate electricity.

These are some of the advanced ideas that are being used in homes, industrial sites and in more than one case being used to power a city on the waste it produces.

So, yes it is expensive, initially but the convenience and the reduction of losses caused by the power failures and brown outs over time helps to reduce the nett losses in a short space of time.

Time is money and all the hours you have to stop work is lost production, one company reported in its annual financials reports this month that they lost R125million due to stoppages… I guess they wish they had spent it instead building their own solar /heat/ backup power station?

Think of how much it costs to keep replacing your electronics at home, PC’s are not cheap a typical good quality graphics card costs from R700 to well over R25000 per card. Not including the monitors, TV’s, fridges and the like that are being affected by these surges and brownouts, daily and often for hours and hours at a time, time that could have been netter spend being productive.

Start Small and Grow Your Investment

– You can start small – but start today.

Yes you can, go to your nearest Builder supply store, B&Q or Builder warehouse and buy your own 5x5m solar panel, that will charge a light bulb battery to work for about an hour (battery size dependant) and get one large caravanner deep cycle battery.

but what about your TV?, computers and oh yes, the food?

This is where it starts to get expensive to do properly, but wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you produce more than you need, then we get you registered as a small IPP, independent power producer. The excess you make then gets sold back to the grid, add a electric car to that mix and you have a mobile power storage unit that you plug in and use to store that excess, then you have free power for life, no need for petrol or diesel.  See how the world is changing and by adding a Nissan Leaf or BMW , Tesla, GM or the like you will have effectively got back every cent you spent on doing the future-proofing that you moaned costs so much to do.

The net result can be that you end up earning more than you paid for your full off grid installation within three to five years**

*current supply, depends on where your power is coming from , be it solar, wind and of course stored energy if its not typically off grid and charges during the ‘up’ times of main electricity supply

**Dependent on area , number of batteries, additional support features

Top tips

…….for newbie project managers….

Always listen twice and talk once when finding out what the client actually needs. It is often the case that the client doesn’t understand the reality of what is possible and gets all excited about the concept.

The clients vision is important to take note of and once all written down you can work with them on what is actually achievable based on budget, time, constraints and other issues like legal and other possible blocks to success.

Do not respond verbally if it is something that needs to be actioned. Always take instructions by email even if the client has asked you to do something verbally as humans have a foible that causes misunderstandings. If it is in writing there is a way to keep tabs on who said what.

Progress – Slow But Sure

Just a  short posting to let everyone  know  we  are making progress.  As  with any project it takes  persistence  and  determination to make  anything happen and  then once  things  start moving they pick up speed.

The plan to date  has  been  very simple.  Phase one  has been to raise awareness  and  get people  comfortable with the  idea  of  having a  high speed underground  train. With awareness  growing  I  have been given some  really good advice and  I am now  asking for experts  to help.

Do you want to be  part of the  biggest infrastructure  project South Africa  has  ever seen?  Can you add  your  expertise  and  experience  to the project?  Then let me  know  how you can help.  Please motivate  your  email  by letting me  know  what you think you can add  and  what experience  you have in getting things done.

The Basic Rules of Great Customer Service

Rule #1 – Tell The Truth

Sounds incredibly simple but its essential that businesses stick to this rule.  So many businesses and salespeople think its necessary to mislead and lie to make the deal, not true. More successful people tell the truth and the most never have to lie.


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Falcon Management Services is a  boutique services company, from project management , management services to private client services.

If you have a small business we have the expertise and know how to make your business shine. If you do not know what to do, call on us to help on our personal line 0843351636 or 0215567088.