Small businesses adopt solar energy as the way to go

With ample roof space and large daily energy usage, they are a perfect case study for the cost-saving benefits of solar power.


Small businesses across the province are opting for solar energy as the new way to go.

Sola Future Energy chief executive officer Dominic Wills says that retail centres in small towns require 500 kilovolts or more to operate and have registered substantial cost-savings through the use of solar power.

He said a lot of businesses in these areas were benefiting from investing in solar panels and even lithium-ion batteries which assist in providing these shops with reduced reliance on Eskom.

“The beauty of such a flexible and deployable technology is that it is perfect for small towns in South Africa – and Africa more broadly,” Wills said.

Wills has been involved in implementing solar photovoltaic projects for shopowners since the past 6 years and has been encouraging shopping malls owners to switch from electricity to solar.

His Sola Future Energy company installed a large photovoltaic system on the roof of the Bela-Bela Mall in Warmbaths earlier this year.

The mall is expected to save R1.8 million from electricity each year.



“The project will pay for itself in less than five years, and amounts to a carbon footprint reduction of 1490 tons of carbon dioxide each year for the duration of the system’s lifespan,” Wills says.

“For most shopping centres, a payback period between 3 – 4 years is becoming normal,” he said.

“These examples point to the efficacy of solar PV not only in urban, but also in rural settings,” Wills said.

“The beauty of such a flexible and deployable technology is that it is perfect for small towns in South Africa – and Africa more broadly,” he said.

“Although we tend to calculate the cost savings for businesses based on electricity consumption figures, the actual benefit should include the monetary value of a reduced carbon footprint on the environment,” he added.

(edited by MLM, with Creamer Media’s Engineering News)

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