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Solar trends every homeowner should know about in 2024

As load-shedding intensifies and electricity prices surge, an increasing number of homeowners are gravitating towards solar energy, attracted by its substantial cost- and energy-saving potential.


“The onset of the new year is the ideal time to consider your household’s energy needs for the next twelve months, and start planning how you can save energy, save money, and ensure you have sustained access to a reliable source of electricity – especially as diesel prices rise, making generators even more expensive,” says Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy.


“For that, nothing beats the long-term savings potential of a professionally installed, quality home solar system which could serve your family for decades to come.”


Heading into 2024, he notes that there are a few solar trends that homeowners should consider:


1.    Advancements in smart monitoring technology


As solar grows in popularity, and international solar producers innovate to keep up, the technology running the systems is rapidly advancing, making new systems even more efficient than their predecessors.


This year, we should see greater integration of the internet of things (IoT) into smart solar energy management systems, enabling users to remotely monitor solar panel systems via their smartphones from anywhere.


“Homeowners will, for example, be able to obtain data on the solar panel’s temperature, as well as the current and previous average values for parameters such as ampere and voltage. Remote users can also manage their solar panel’s loads and ensure that important appliances are receiving an uninterrupted energy feed while they’re away,” Snoeck Henkemans explains.


A good monitoring system can also tell homeowners when one or more panels aren’t producing as much energy as others, or whether there’s an electrical fault causing them to miss out on precious kilowatt-hours.


“To make everything work together, you need the appropriate hardware, an internet connection, and a mobile app or login to a web portal. These systems are often complex and difficult to install, which is why we recommend only using highly experience solar companies with expert installation teams.”


2.    Battery efficiency improvements


Continued work is being done to develop batteries with higher energy densities and longer lifespans. The use of new and advanced materials in battery manufacturing can lead to more efficient energy storage. For instance, the development of solid-state batteries could potentially offer higher energy density and improved safety compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.


Additionally, smart battery management systems can optimise the performance of batteries in solar systems. These systems can monitor and manage the state of charge and other important parameters of a battery, thereby enhancing its efficiency and lifespan.


Lastly, innovations in battery manufacturing processes will lead to more efficient and cost-effective batteries. This includes the development of more sustainable and scalable manufacturing processes.


3.    Shrinking divide between grid energy costs and solar instalments


The cost of solar panels and related equipment has decreased significantly over the years, as technological advancements have improved the efficiency of solar panels, and economies of scale have reduced manufacturing costs. Additionally, a global oversupply of components has seen many suppliers reduce prices to sell stock – a trend that should continue for the first six months of 2024. 


“This bodes well for homeowners, as price decreases will make it even more cost-effective to install a solar system than to rely on grid energy, which is getting more expensive every year,” says Snoeck Henkemans.


He notes that energy prices continue to rise while homeowners have less hours of electricity every day. In July 2023, the price of Eskom-supplied electricity soared by 18.49%, with more above-inflation increases expected this year.


“Rent-to-own options, such as those provided by Alumo, could cost the same as your monthly energy bill. This would mean that the full amount would be paid off within a short few years, and homeowners save substantially on their monthly electricity bill. The other benefit of these systems is that they provide homeowners with constant access to an energy supply during load-shedding, while lowering energy usage throughout the rest of the day,” concludes Snoeck Henkemans.

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