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Education and due diligence – critical before investing in alternative energy

THE ongoing energy crisis in South Africa has placed households and businesses in a predicament, with an increased urgency to supplement energy requirements, which is driving the demand for solutions in the renewable energy space. However, Svilen Voychev, CEO of Valsa Trading, strongly recommends that households and businesses conduct a due diligence process before investing capital into any alternate energy solutions.

Valsa Trading is a photovoltaic (PV) solar system manufacturer and distributor, supplying PV solar mounting system solutions to resellers, installers and clients installing solar systems for businesses across South Africa and into Africa.

Voychev emphasizes that customers need to understand what energy solution will best suit their needs. “Do you need less energy for longer hours or high energy for shorter periods? One must also ensure that installers understand this information and provide the appropriate guidance.”

“To businesses to remain competitive, investing in alternative energy solutions is a necessity. Business owners must investigate the financial viability of their investment, and whether the solutions meets their operational requirements not just for the short term, but provides a return on investment over the long-term.”

“Choosing a fit-for-purpose alternative energy solution is a complex task. 

Designing the energy solution is a scientific process that factors in the climate, energy products, customer energy requirements and compliance and support, not only the initial capital investment,” he adds.

For example, when customers choose a battery storage solution, one should consider the battery rating, such as charge and discharge rate or C rating. The C rate indicates the service rate for the specified battery and the time it takes to charge and discharge. 

“Lithium batteries can tolerate much higher discharge C rates than alkaline batteries. In contrast, lead acid batteries are rated low on discharge rates. Further, it is imperative that installers are adequately educated to inform customers of a battery’s performance, type, or application. 

“A customer or an installer, in most cases, may to lean towards cheaper batteries. However, the cost must not be the factor that trumps all other considerations. It is important to  pay attention to battery performance; installer compliance; the warranty from the manufacturer; and support after installation by both the manufacturer and installer,” explains Voychev. 

He also adds that the solar PV system can be complemented with a battery storage solution as an excellent alternative energy package because it enables businesses to shift consumption during peak hours. The battery storage then plays a pivotal role in the businesses’ energy mix. 

“Further, the cost of battery storage has declined as technology has improved, and this can be used with the solar solution to reduce the use of generators which suffer from high operational and running costs. Valsa now supplies a range of battery storage solutions. 

“Before looking at the initial capital investment, customers should understand and seek expert advice and guidance on the energy solutions that would fit their specific needs. Be aware of what you’re investing in and conduct professional due diligence. The correct decision will undoubtedly pay off, and you will benefit from your investment,” Voychev concludes. 

For more information contact: Anrie Breedt Lombard, Tel: 081 469 8646 or Email:

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