How Load Shedding is Driving Demand for Off-Grid Homes in South Africa

Off-the-grid homes are commanding a premium in the South African property market, with buyers willing to pay up to 20% more for residential properties that have solar power and other off-grid features. This comes amid the ongoing issue of load shedding in the country, prompting an increasing number of potential buyers to seek out properties that can avoid the effects of this issue.

According to Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, adding solar power to a home is an expensive exercise. Therefore, those who have had solar power installed are unlikely to sell anytime soon, which could cause a supply-demand mismatch that could push up the price of these homes.

However, recent surveys show that the installation of solar panels and other off-the-grid features can significantly increase the value of homes. A snap survey of agents by Just Property found that if a home is not reliant on the municipality for water, electricity, and sewerage, its value could increase by an average of 16%, with most agents saying this could rise to 20%.

Karryn Cartoulis of RE/MAX Living said that one of the first questions buyers ask when viewing a luxury home in Cape Town is whether it has solar power. She added that most clients who purchase freehold homes consider adding solar energy to their new properties if this has not already been installed.

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Tanya Sakota of RE/MAX One reported that off-the-grid homes are also in high demand in Johannesburg’s markets, along with other luxury features such as home automation, cinema lounges, and rotating garage floors.

Solar power also offers the benefit of being environmentally friendly while helping residents to reduce their carbon footprint and live more sustainably, according to Goslett. Indeed, Eskom’s problems, which have been ongoing for some time, mean that the installation of solar is likely to enhance the resale value of a property or make it more attractive to potential renters, says Andrea Tucker, director of MortgageMe.

Ross Mains-Sheard, co-founder and chief executive of South African residential solar energy company Versofy SOLAR, provided these top tips for those considering the decision to go solar:

  1. Seek recommendations from friends, family, and acquaintances within your community regarding reliable installation companies.
  2. Determine your home’s energy requirements by examining your energy usage patterns over a period of time.
  3. Evaluate your house’s ability to support solar panels by assessing the orientation, pitch, and roof area, as well as the amount of sunlight the area receives.
  4. Based on your energy requirements and your home’s capacity for solar power, collaborate with a credible solar installation company to determine what power capacity and storage system you’ll need.
  5. It’s important to ensure that the installer you choose is accredited and employs high-quality materials.
  6. Commence the installation only after obtaining permission from the relevant parties, such as the municipality, homeowners’ association, and body corporate.
  7. To keep your solar system in good working condition, it’s essential to have it regularly serviced and insured, just like any other household asset.
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It seems that for those who can afford it, solar power and off-grid features are becoming increasingly important considerations when purchasing a property in South Africa. Whether you are looking to sell or not, the installation of solar power and other off-grid features can not only add value to a property but help you to live more sustainably.

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