Surviving Loadshedding: A Quick Guide to Loadshedding Solutions in South Africa
Dealing with load shedding in South Africa is a never ending battle, but there are various solutions available that can help mitigate the impact of power outages.
This guide will briefly take you through some of the best options out there to beat loadshedding - and what each will cost you. We'll start with the more affordable load shedding solutions and end with those requiring serious up front investments (or a loan). After reading this hopefully you’ll feel a little less left in the dark.
Best Load Shedding Solutions for South Africans
1. Lights (R100 - R500+) - Portable lights and battery-powered bulbs are affordable and easy to use. They provide basic lighting during load shedding and are the easiest first step.
2. Devices to keep the internet on (R500 - R2000) - Mini UPS devices keep your WiFi routers, CCTV cameras, phones, and other small electronics powered during outages. They are compact and easy to use, providing you with essential connectivity when you need it most.
3. Portable Power Stations (R6000 - R20 000+) - Portable power stations have larger batteries that can be used to power devices like TVs and laptops. Some larger models can keep your fridge powered during load shedding.
4. Generators (R3000 - R20 000+ and fuel to run) - From old school noisy generators to new age silent models, generators are the original loadshedding solution in South Africa. They come in various sizes and can potentially be used to power for your entire home.
5. Wall-Mounted Battery Kits (R50 000 to R100 000+) - Battery kits are installed on the wall of your home or office and provide power during outages. They can power lights, TVs, fridges, and other devices for 4 hours or more.
6. Solar Solutions (R75 000 to R300 000+) - Solar systems include a solar panel array, battery, and inverter system. They reduce or eliminate your reliance on Eskom and thus reduce your electricity bill. While the upfront cost is significant, they provide a long-term solution that can benefit you for years to come.
Note that we may earn a small commission on some of the products we recommend on this page if you purchase. However, we only recommend quality products we believe are a good fit to reduce the burdens of loadshedding.
Lights (R100- R500+)
If all you want to do is keep the lights on, the most affordable and safest first step is to get yourself a few rechargeable LED “emergency” lights. You can find portable LED’s with a built in battery for around R150-R300.
You can also swap out your regular light bulbs for rechargeable LED bulbs. These have built in batteries and charge while the power is on. When loadshedding hits, they can still shine for several hours. These vary in price based on quality, battery life, etc. They will set you back R80-R300 per bulb.
- Magneto Rechargeable LED Compact Light - up to 6 hours of light - R140
- Magneto LED Lantern 1000 lumen - Up to 60 hours of light on a single charge R289
Devices To Keep The WiFi On (R500 - R2000)
A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a small device that provides backup power for devices when the power goes out.
If you just want to keep your WiFi or Security cameras powered, this is what you’re looking for. A mini UPS is the cheapest solution to keep your WiFi and Internet on during loadshedding. Different internet setups have different power requirements, but a mini UPS with 30-65Wh capacity should cover you for 2-4 hours.
Note that some internet setups or CCTV cameras require a device that supports Power Over Ethernet, so be sure to check yours.
- Most affordable solution to keep your WiFi on
- Easy Installation, do it yourself
- Limited power output, only enough to keep essential electronics running
The Gizzu GU30W and Gizzu GUP60W are mini UPS devices that can keep your internet connected during loadshedding.
- Gizzu GU30W 32Wh Mini DC Router UPS
- Should keep most WiFi routers going for 4 hours of loadshedding
- USB port to charge a cell phone or other device.
- Gizzu 60W 65Wh Mini POE DC UPS GUP60W
- Keep all internet setups going for 4 hours of loadshedding.
- PoE enabled, keep your CCTV cameras powered.
Portable Power Stations (R6000 - R20 000+)
Portable power stations are a great option for those who are looking for a quick and easy solution to keep their essential electronics running during load shedding.
These systems are small enough to be moved around or taken with you when traveling. They range in power, from systems to just keep the WiFi on with less than 100 Wh capacity, up to 2kWh systems and beyond which could run the lights, fridge, TVs etc for a small home.
Note the higher the “Wh” rating the longer the battery will last, and the more expensive it will be.
- Easy to use and set up
- Can be moved around
- Cost-effective compared to larger backup power systems
- Limited power output, generally not enough to run your entire home
- Not an always on solution - the generally have to be plugged in and out as needed
Prices for these systems vary depending on the size, battery type and features. Here are a few product recommendations, with a brief overview of what they may be used for.
Portable power stations with Lithium Ion batteries
We recommend choosing a portable power station that uses Lithium-ion batteries. They are known for their extended lifespan and superior depth of discharge (DoD). You can utilize up to 80% of the battery's capacity without significantly reducing its overall lifespan. This is particularly important in South Africa, where these devices will be pushed to their limits by loadshedding.
Portable power stations with roughly 250 Wh capacity
Run a laptop and Wifi for 2-3 hours or a TV for 1-2 hours
- GIZZU 296Wh Portable Power Station - R6000
- EcoFlow River 600W Portable Power Station 288Wh Battery - R7,195
- Premium brand with much faster charging
Portable power stations with roughly 500 Wh
Run a laptop and Wifi for 4+ hours, or a TV and Wifi for 3-4 hours
Portable power stations with roughly 700 Wh capacity
Run a couple laptops and wifi for 4+ hours, or a TV and DSTV for 4+ hours
- BLUETTI EB70 Portable Power Station 1000W / 716Wh - R11,195
- EcoFlow RIVER Pro Portable Power Station 720Wh - R13,895
- Premium brand with much faster charging
Portable power stations with roughly 1000Wh capacity
Run WiFi, two TVs and laptops for 4+ hours, or a low energy fridge for a few hours
- Kool Energy 1000W 1280Wh - R 14,499
- EcoFlow Delta 1800W 1260Wh Mobile Power Station - R23400.
- Premium Ecoflow brand with fast charging
Portable power stations with roughly 2000Wh capacity
Cover your WiFi, laptops, TVs, fridge for 4+ hours
- Mecer 2kVA 2kW Lithium Battery Inverter Trolley - R27000
- Bluetti EB240 Portable Power Station LiFePO4 | 1000W 2400WH - R22000
- Ecoflow Delta Max 2000 2016Wh - R 41,599
- Premium Ecoflow brand with fast charging
Portable power stations without Lithium ion batteries
The items below use Gel Batteries. They don’t last as long as Li-ion batteries. You are recommended to not drain them more than 50%. Caveats noted, they are more affordable and still have role to play.
Generators (R3000 - R50 000)
Generators have been around a long time and are a reliable solution to loadshedding. This also means you can often get one at a great price second hand - especially if someone is upgrading to solar.
If you’re not keen on the noise, many people are investing in newer silent generator models.
They run on petrol or diesel and come in all sizes - from 1kW to 10kW and beyond, meaning they can power just about anything you need.
- Reliable source of backup power
- Can power homes of any size
- Initial cost is less than solar and battery kits
- Requires regular maintenance
- Not that easy to use and can be dangerous
- Fuel is expensive and over time this adds up
- They are noisy and cause air pollution
Prices for generators start at around R3000 and can go up to R50 000 or more.
- Ryobi Generator 2-Stroke Air-Cooled 950W - R2700
- Ryobi 4 Stroke Air-Cooled Generator 1000W - R4400
- Supersonic OP-2800DC Generator 4 Stroke Petrol 2200W - R5400
- Ryobi Generator 4-Stroke 3000W - R6900
- Ryobi Generator 4 Stroke Battery Key Start 5.5kVa - R11000
- Talon 6.5kVA Petrol Generator With AVR And Electric Start - R14900
Battery Kits (R50 000 to R100 000+)
A battery kit is a step up from a portable power station, providing a more powerful and permanent solution for those who need to keep their entire home and some larger appliances running during load shedding.
It consists of an inverter and battery combo which directly connect to your house’s electrical system and is typically installed on a wall. The batteries charge while you have power, and automatically provide power to your home when loadshedding starts. Loadshedding will become much less noticeable.
The battery capacity for these kits typically come in 3kWh, 5kWh, and 8kWh sizes, allowing you to choose the right one for your needs.
3kWh: Ideal for small homes or apartments, providing enough power to keep essential electronics and some smaller appliances running. This should keep the lights, WiFi, fridge and TV on for several hours of loadshedding. Expect to pay R60,000-R70,000 or R1600pm.
5kWh: Suitable for larger homes, providing enough power to keep a wider range of appliances running, such as lights, fridges, the occasional use of a higher powered device eg an air fryer or microwave. Expect to pay R70,000-R80,000 or R1700pm.
8kWh: Ideal for larger homes or small businesses, providing enough power to keep all essential appliances and some larger equipment running. Expect to pay R90,000-R100,000 or R2300pm.
Note that it is not advisable to run appliances with very high energy consumption such as geysers, washing machines and ovens from the battery unless you have purchased a system of sufficient size to do so. These appliances will drain 3-5kWh batteries quickly. Rather run these off Eskom or solar.
- Can later add solar panels to store solar energy
- Works seamlessly - you don’t need to plug anything in or out
- Some systems allow for remote monitoring of battery status, performance and other features
- Can increase the value of a home
- High upfront cost for installation and equipment
- The batteries may not be enough to last through extended power outages eg longer than 4 hours.
The cost varies greatly depending on the size, quality, features, and installation complexity. Prices for battery kits typically range from R50 000 to R100 000 or more.
Chat with us on Whatsapp if you would like a quote or need any further assistance with a battery kit solution.
Solar Solutions (R75 000 to R300 000+)
Solar is a long-term sustainable solution to the energy crisis we face and it can help you save on your Eskom bill right now. The most popular solar solutions for home are generally 5kW and 8kW, although larger and smaller options are possible.
Solar systems include a solar panel array and inverter at minimum, but it is very common to also include a battery which can provide power outside of the peak sunlight hours.
There are various solar configurations available: grid-tied, off-grid, or hybrid. We will focus on hybrid systems which means the system will provide power to your home and battery using both sunlight and Eskom. Unless you want to go fully off-grid (the cost of which is significant) this is the configuration we recommend for the current situation in South Africa.
A 5kW system is most popular and suitable for most medium sized homes. This comes with around 3kW of solar panels, a 5kW inverter and a 5kWh battery. You can expect to pay R100,000-R120,000 or R2600pm for the installation of a good quality system with a certificate of compliance (CoC).
- Reduce or eliminate dependence on the grid
- Reduce your electricity bill
- Tax incentives bring the cost down
- Large initial investment. This can be mitigated by applying for financing.
- May require maintenance and upkeep over time
- Requires sufficient sunlight to function effectively
Going completely off-grid requires a large number of solar panels and batteries to get you through night-time. This can cost upwards of R300,000. If this is your plan, we recommend a phased approach, starting with a smaller system and adding extra components as required.
Recently the Treasury announced additional tax incentives for solar which can help bring down the cost. Individuals will be entitled to claim a 25% credit on the cost of their solar panel expenses up to a maximum of R15 000 per person. Businesses can deduct 125% of the costs from their taxable income.
Chat with us on Whatsapp if you would like a quote or need any further assistance with a solar solution.
Need further help?
Get in touch if you need any further assistance or if you would like a quote for a solar or battery kit installation, we’re happy to help.