Solar provides sustainable alternative power Gwanda residents switch to alternative power as loadshedding bites

16 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Solar provides sustainable alternative power Gwanda residents switch to alternative power as loadshedding bites A solar-powered house in Gwanda

The Chronicle

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE absence of electricity has not stopped Gwanda residents from lavish lifestyles in their well-built houses which are an imitation of leafy suburbs such as Burnside in Bulawayo among others.

A number of residents have installed solar systems in their houses with enough capacity to power all their electric appliances including refrigerators.

Solar energy is a renewable, inexhaustible and affordable form of energy generated from the sun.

Electrification of some suburbs across the country by Zesa remains outstanding.

Residents have turned to solar energy in order to light their homes.

Some residents have gone on to purchase solar-powered appliances such as stoves and fridges.

They have also installed solar-powered floodlights outside their homes.

Residents who live in electrified suburbs have also turned to solar energy because of its convenience.

Solar energy has proven to be a reliable source of power especially during the time when the country is experiencing loadshedding and power outages.

The loadshedding and power cuts have caused damage to electrical appliances in some homes.

Residents also lose perishables during prolonged power cuts.

Mrs Thandiwe Mlilo of Spitzop Medium Suburb said solar energy has proven to be a reliable energy source for her and her family.

“I started building my house in 2009.

I moved in the same year and since we didn’t have electricity, I installed a solar system.

At first, I started off with a lower capacity that couldn’t power heavy electrical gadgets such as fridges.

I added more panels and another 48-volt battery which can now power everything,” she said.

“I now have two solar power systems.

One is connected to the house’s main power system and another is independent.

Each system is powered by a 48-volt battery.

In total I have 11 panels connected to these two systems.

The capacity of my solar system is powerful enough to power all my gadgets.”

She said she has also installed 100 watts solar floodlights that are independent from the house’s solar system.

While some people assume that a solar-powered system does not operate when the sky is overcast, Mrs Mlilo said ever since she installed it three years ago, she has never experienced power disruption.

She said she uses an all-weather solar system which can trap 60 percent of heat when it is overcast.

“I bought all-weather panels known as Monocrystalline and they work even when the sky is overcast.

There are however, some panels that operate only when its sunny.

When it’s cloudy I manage my solar system by occasionally switching off some appliances in order to preserve energy.

I can monitor the level of power on my batteries so that I manage it well.

At one time I stayed for five days with my system on while it was rainy and cloudy.

On a sunny day, by 11AM my batteries will be full.

During the day I will be using energy which is direct from the sun and in the evening, I use power that comes from the batteries,” Mrs Mlilo said.

She said some of her neighbours who use electricity come to her home to charge their cellphones or to drop their meat for storage in her fridge.

Mrs Mlilo said she was doing well without electricity coming from the national grid. She said it is her desire to use appliances that are solar-powered.

Another resident from Spitzkop North Suburb, Ms Prudence Ncube said a good solar system is expensive but it is a worthy investment.

She recalled that before turning to solar, she was saddled with high electricity bills, power cuts among other problems.

Ms Ncube said producers of solar-powered equipment have upgraded their products over the years to make them convenient to users.

She said she installed her solar-powered system in 2017. Ms Ncube said at the time, the batteries that were available had a low voltage.

“When I first used a solar-powered system, I bought 12 volts batteries and I had to buy six in order to power all my appliances.

Now there are 48-volt batteries available which has improved the product.

The inverter and regulator used to be separate but now the inverter has a built-in regulator.

The solar system is an effective power source for me and even if electricity is connected, I still prefer it,” she said.

Ms Ncube said it is important to engage the services of professional electricians to install a solar-powered system.

She said the system needs proper earthing and wiring to protect it from lightning and over voltage.

Ward 5 Councillor, Gilbert Dube said use of the solar system gained momentum in his ward over the years.

He said residents in Spitzkop North Suburb, which falls under his ward, have been living without electricity for the past 20 years and many were now using solar power energy at various capacities.

“If you move around the suburb at night, you will forget that this place doesn’t have electricity because of solar power.

Most houses will be having power on.

Some use solar power systems that can only power lights and televisions while others have gone a step further to use systems that can power all their appliances.

It would be good to see more houses, even those who are electrified use solar power as it’s a sustainable power source,” he said.

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