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Solar energy will save businesses money and stress as well as make properties where it is installed more attractive to both tenants and potential buyers

South Africa’s power crisis might have taken a back seat in the light of the coronovirus pandemic but it has not gone away. In fact, it is going to be around for a lot longer than the Covid-19 illness.

The energy crisis and resultant load shedding that has, until recently, been a daily reality for the country, has been severely affecting business and commercial property owners, with those in the manufacturing and industrial sectors particularly hard hit.

The knock-on effects of lost working hours and the negative consequences, such as dwindling cash flows, lost contracts, a shrinking customer base and the uncertain future of one’s business, are just some of the problems they are grappling with, says Tony Bales of Epping Property.

A well-thought-out solar system, however, can provide a win-win situation for businesses and commercial property assets and a way to mitigate the harmful effects of load shedding. “Your business’s rooftop is an asset waiting to help you.

“Installing a solar system on the roof of your building will greatly increase the value of your property as an asset in your portfolio, and make it more appealing to potential buyers. “It will also make it more attractive to tenants – thereby reducing your potential vacancies and loss of earnings.”

Business managers operating from premises that run off solar energy can also breathe easier knowing they will not need to suffer the down time and loss of earnings that so many other businesses are struggling with.

“Not only will you be able to survive future load shedding but you will also be largely immune to Eskom’s escalating tariffs, not to mention the tax break you will get from Sars for doing your bit for the environment,” Bales says.

Those considering installing a solar system, but who are worried about the seemingly prohibitive cost, must again consider the loss of revenue being caused through frequent and ongoing power outages.

“Added to this, consider the cost saving over the long term if one no longer has to pay for Eskom-generated electricity to run one’s business. You will basically be reallocating existing expenses to pay for a new asset that works for you.”

In effect, he says the savings firms will make from generating their own electricity will pay for the installation. Once they own the system outright they will enjoy free electricity, a cost saving that can then be shared with tenants.

On this note, Bales says: “Tenants will enjoy lower electricity costs and far greater certainty of running a successful business. “In turn, they will likely commit to occupying the space with you for a longer period, reducing your vacancy risks. A renewable energy system will assure them of your commitment to shielding them from future Eskom tariff hikes and unpredictable load shedding. New tenants will immediately find your property attractive for their business.” When it comes to selling the asset, they will be in demand.

“Looking ahead, most – if not all – prospective buyers will be looking for an asset with a proven renewable energy system to invest in and property owners not augmenting power with renewable energy are likely to be passed over.

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