South African Businesses Can No Longer Ignore the Need for Alternative Power Supplies

The conversation around South Africa’s vulnerable electrical grid is growing louder and more contentious by the day. Commercial properties around the country are struggling to keep up their business operations as a result of load-shedding, unreliable grid power and rising electricity costs. These operational concerns mean that finding alternative power supplies are no longer an option for businesses and commercial property owners.

Most of the country’s larger corporations and many renters have already moved to alternative power sources to keep up their business operations and tenants’ access to electricity during load-shedding. Unfortunately, many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are left with the bill for generator power; if they have the means to access it at all. The diesel that runs these generators is expensive and often falls on the SMEs.

Generators are an effective, but unsustainable and harmful, way to maintain operations during power outages for tenants, business owners, landlords and, especially, the planet. Fortunately, alternative means of electricity generation and storage are becoming more popular, advanced and accessible each year. It is the responsibility of business and property owners to ensure that their commercial spaces, SME tenants and employees are operating at all times.

Most lease agreements do not guarantee a power supply for the tenants. From home offices and corner shops to large agencies and popular storefronts, it is never assured that your business will be operational ‘tomorrow’. Load-shedding has started a discourse around the national grid’s longevity, supply and sustainability that puts fear into companies attempting to maintain their operations – without the financial and environmental costs of petrol-powered generators.

The rising cost of diesel and ever-lessening reliability of Eskom’s grid capacity has been far more harmful to the SMEs, remote workers and start-ups that cannot afford to pay for generator power. Large companies, on the other hand, are happy to pay this price to keep their operations going. This is not possible for everyone and, therefore, small businesses will not be able to continue operations during load-shedding and power outages.

If businesses and commercial property owners were to redirect those investments into solar panel technology and battery power storage; it would have a significant impact on their tenants, the environment and its business operations. If tenants cannot trade during times without electricity, it reduces their turnovers, increases occupancy costs and limits profitability and opportunities for business growth.

Load-shedding and power outages also affect the carbon footprint of South Africa and South African businesses. Increasing reliance on diesel and generator power means that, whenever businesses and commercial properties face blackouts, they are drastically increasing their own carbon emissions. Solar panel-powered energy is an affordable and viable way to supplement or replace the reliance on grid electricity resilience and petrol-powered generators.

Any-sized business has refined their operational procedures and strategies over many painstaking years and learning many hard lessons. These procedures and strategies are fully dependent on its ability to guarantee their power supply needs. A reasonable way to run your business is to plan for the worst, but expect the best. Unfortunately, this is not possible in South Africa, because it is so easy to expect that load-shedding and power outages will continue for many years to come.

There are many costs associated with ensuring power during blackouts for landlords and business owners. It is important to note that the return on investment of the resources invested into alternative power options are also dependent on the sustainability and reliability of those power supplies. It is clearly worth betting on the power of the South African sun, engineers and technologies – and not on the rising costs of diesel power.

Consider your options for alternative power supplies very carefully and determine what is best for you, your business or your tenants. The most likely solution is once that utilises solar power to supplement the electrical supply of the national grid, while having the capacity to run most of the business’s operations during blackouts. Commercial property and business owners can no longer ignore the global shift towards renewable energy to maintain their own business’s sustainability.

LeafySpace provides world-class civil, electrical and landscaping services provider with extensive experience in maintaining and installing the latest electrical systems to help your business become energy independent. Contact LeafySpace today and find out how we can help your transform your electricity supply.