Among companies helping us live the green lifestyle is Energy Partners, who, with their Home Solutions packages,offer a range of user-friendly,cost-efficient applications for those with an earth-friendly orientation.
Everyone, more or less, by now knows that there are substantial savings to be had if you are a homeowner wishing to cut down on utility bills and reduce your impact on the planet. A lot of people know, for example, that a solar
water heater, installed correctly and supplemented in a rational manner with grid-based power, can save as much as 40% on one’s home electricity bill. But few realise that savings can far exceed that – by combining energy-efficiency and solar photo-voltaic (PV), you can save up to 70% on your electricity bill.
The idea that you can make yourself largely independent of the national power grid without going whole-hog off-the-grid is also not necessarily generally held. Replacing your old geyser and lights with the latest, most efficient technology contributes a great deal to savings.
Not everyone can afford to simply go out and buy a geyser, but over the next five to 10 years many homeowners will find their old geyser under-performing or that their geyser has simply grown old and broken down. That’s the time to make the right kind of investment in a device used daily (when there’s no severe drought, as the Western Cape is currently experiencing) but which over time can repay you for its cost many times over.
Installing panels on your roof to generate your own electricity, at lower cost than you buy it from the grid, is another fairly obvious way to go. Adding batteries to store excess solar energy for using at night is likely the next step in a programme of increasing energy independence Systems can be financed over five years and can be tailored to suit each home, so there’s no reason not to go down this cost-saving road.
Using these strategies, Energy Partners Home Solutions are helping homeowners to optimise their energy use by combining energy efficiency and solar PV. Their systems are fully modular so you can start small and build up to complete independence over time.
Best in Class Products
Energy Partners Home Solutions has a wide range of products but they also have some ‘best in class products’ on which they are particularly keen. Below are several of these.
• Heat Pump & Storage tank – Helping you to save 70% of water heating cost and store extra solar energy as hot water, this system is among the best ways to go. Heat pumps use energy from the air to heat water, in the reverse of a refrigeration cycle. They are extremely efficient – using only one-third of the energy of traditional geysers and are not dependent on sunshine for energy. Energy Partners utilises high-quality, indirect heat pumps, which ensure that hot water is always available.
• Solar Panels – Capturing the sun’s energy and producing your own electricity is a literal no-brainer. Energy Partners source only the highest quality tier one solar PV modules directly from the manufacturer. Each panel is laboratory-tested to confirm its theoretical output. Their panels have a 25-year linear output guarantee and a material and workmanship warranty. Only tier 1 panels, polycrystalline or thin film panels are used. Aluminium or stainless steel mounting structure is used for all roof types.
• Icon Inverter – Energy Partners have developed a smart inverter, the ‘ICON home energy hub’. This hybrid inverter fulfils all the functions of a standard inverter, but also integrates to your batteries and to the company’s heat pump to maximize savings. Their 3kW Hybrid Inverter with a 7kW AC pass-through has a LED indicator of power source and a mobile app for remote monitoring. Unlike most conventional inverters, the Icon Home Energy Hub is designed to look good in any room in the home. Wiring and cables are concealed within the enclosures as far as possible so as not to detract from the home’s appearance. Energy Partners’ PV systems come with a mobile app that you can download on your phone. The app enables you to track how much energy your system is producing in real time, as well as savings over the past weeks and months. The mobile app is available for iOS and Android systems devices.
• Batteries – Adding batteries to your system means that you will stay powered during power outages. Energy Partners use lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology in their batteries. These batteries are much more efficient and take up much less space compared to traditional lead based batteries. They also have extremely long lifespans – over 10 years of daily charging/discharging. Their LiFEPO4 batteries produce 3.6kWh or 6kWh, 4000 cycles to 100% depth of discharge.
Making Savings Affordable
Many homeowners are discouraged by the upfront cost of a good quality home energy system. However, the savings will greatly outweigh the costs over the lifespan of a system. Another option is for homeowners to finance their systems and pay them off over time. Energy partners offer their own in-house financing, or the system can be added to an existing home loan. In most cases the savings on electricity far outweigh the additional bond payments, including interest. For example, a homeowner could make additional payments of R369000 on their bond over 20 years, but would expect to save R750000 on electricity over time (assuming provision for a family home in the City of Cape Town, with an electricity bill of a R2500 per month).
Energy Partners are registered credit providers and can finance projects in-house, saving even more money which would be taken up by third party financing. The Process Energy Partners Home Solutions pride themselves on taking care of every part of your project – design, supply, licence applications and installation. They will assign a solar consultant to you to manage every step of the process. They have made the process as simple as possible:
• Free consultation – Their experts do all the leg work. One of their solar consultants will visit your home and create a custom solution devised just for you and your family’s needs.
• Personalised Proposal – They will supply you with a formal proposal for your solution, as well as options to finance it. You can then take time to consider it and make your choice when you’re ready.
• Installation – If required, they will also apply to your local municipality for the necessary approvals. Most installations are done within two days and then they are out of your way. A home energy adviser is ready to assist. Energy Partners’ solar consultants are all knowledgeable experts that will help you find the right solution tailored for your home and budget. Your adviser will schedule and oversee the installation of your system and keep you informed throughout the process.
Although their ICON product is designed to meet the needs of most homes, there are projects for which it is not suitable. These include:
• 3 Phase systems
• 100% off grid systems
• Systems larger than 5kW
These more complex projects fall into their ‘custom project’ category and they handle them with an engineering-led approach. They start by clearly defining the client’s needs and then building up the right solution, using the best components available. Energy Partners’ engineers work closely with architects, quantity surveyors and other professionals on these projects to make sure that their solutions are well integrated into the design. Energy Partners has been in business for more than eight years and employs over 180 people. Their reputation is built around delivering a great experience for every customer.