Loadshedding continues to beleaguer homes and businesses across South Africa, with the Energy Council of South Africa recently forecasting its continuation throughout 2023 with only a potential resolution by 2024. As South Africans grapple with the uncertainty of power cuts, the need for reliable backup power solutions grows more urgent. While solar power and battery backups are popular options, generators remain a viable alternative that offers unique advantages in specific scenarios.
South African homeowners facing the dilemma of choosing an appropriate backup power source are presented with several options. According to JC Kruger, National Sales Manager of Husqvarna South Africa, while solar power is both sustainable and environmentally friendly, it does come with substantial initial expense and limitations during adverse weather conditions. On the other hand, he notes that battery backups, although more budget-friendly, often have limited capacity and lifespan, necessitating more frequent replacement. Many battery systems provide power to a home for around 3-4 hours. For longer power outages, however, a backup generator becomes essential. In this context, generators emerge as an appealing alternative, offering reliability and cost-effectiveness for those in search of dependable alternate power solutions.
He outlines five compelling reasons why a generator could serve as an excellent option for homeowners seeking a backup power source:
1. Cost-Effective for Occasional Use: Generators are a budget-friendly choice for occasional or short-term backup power needs, offering lower upfront costs.
2. Reliable in All Weather: Regardless of weather conditions, generators can provide continuous power as long as they have fuel.
3. Instant Power On-Demand: Able to deliver immediate power, making them essential for emergencies and critical applications requiring uninterrupted electricity.
4. Location-Independent: Generators are not constrained by geography or orientation, ensuring versatile deployment.
5. Higher Power Output: They outperform most residential solar setups in terms of power output, making them ideal for heavy-duty applications and high-power requirements.
Kruger emphasises, however, that while generators can serve as an excellent backup power solution, safety remains paramount. He advises, “To begin with, generators should be positioned in open areas to prevent the accumulation of carbon monoxide. It’s crucial to never connect the generator to your home’s electrical system, a practice known as backfeeding, to avoid potentially hazardous situations. Keep in mind that when connecting any alternative power source to your home, it should be done by a registered electrician and a certificate of compliance must be issued.
Maintaining dry conditions for both yourself and the generator is essential to minimise the risk of electrocution. Proper fuel handling is also a must, so store fuel safely, use the correct type, and refuel only when the generator is turned off. Additionally, maintaining a safe distance from flammable objects and having a readily accessible fire extinguisher can be lifesaving in case of emergencies. Lastly, remember that regular maintenance is key to ensuring the safe and smooth operation of your generator.”
If you’re a homeowner in search of a generator, Kruger recommends considering the Husqvarna G 5500P Generator. This robust and reliable generator boasts a 5.0 kW (50 Hz) output, making it highly efficient for powering both homes and work sites and is available at your nearest Husqvarna dealer or online for just R 11 050.