"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday 7 December 2014

"Let the sun shine,

... let the sun shine in..."

South Africa has finally switched on it's solar power.
Jasper solar farm - near Kimberley

With a rated capacity of 96 megawatts, Jasper will produce about 180,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy annually for South African residents, enough to power up to 80,000 homes.

And, they have already started construction of another solar farm called Redstone which is located near Jasper - and this one will provide 100-megawatts of CSP.

Sigh - I'm so frigging happy :)

Now, if they could only just plan another couple of dozen solar and wind farms around the country immediately then perhaps we wouldn't have the load shedding that that the rest of the country is currently experiencing...  They are both quicker to erect, and can provide power faster than it takes to construct a coal powered or nuclear powered power station.

Going to Swellendam yesterday for our weekly shop, most of the businesses had their doors closed and locked as they had no generators to power their lights / tills whilst Escom enforced a load shedding to "build up reserves".  How can those businesses survive if they have to close their doors on a (busy) Saturday morning - especially one 2 weeks before Christmas?

Petrol stations in Cape Town are apparently running out of diesel.  Why?  Because Escom is using the diesel to run power plants.  This lack of diesel has far reaching consequences for businesses and transport.  For the country's GDP.

Perhaps those in senior positions at Escom should find themselves trapped in a (stationary) lift for 2 - 3 hours, or visit a public loo in the dark - all because they (and their predecessors) were too short-sighted and didn't plan adequately years ago for the country's future electricity requirements.  "Use less / save power / switch off unnecessary equipment" Escom says.  But, if everyone does as they request then their sales will drop, their income will thus be affected and that means they will have another bloody excuse to hike up the electricity prices to meet their ludicrous financial commitments / loans.  All because they didn't do their research / fulfil their job specifications adequately / plan properly.

Escom is making this country a laughing stock.  Who wants to invest in a country which can't supply electricity to the people or to their businesses?  A country which is also running out of diesel because the only power producer in the country is apparently using it all to run their open cycle gas turbines?  Oh, and never mind the diesel required to fuel the 200-odd fleet of trucks running 24 hours a day delivering coal to Majuba because yet another tender company took a shortcut. (the silo's weren't constructed properly and are either cracked or have collapsed).
Try installing solar power at your home - even
if it is only enough to power the most urgent
of our appliances (lights, fridge, chargers).
  Living with only the power produced by the sun
encourages you to be aware of each switch you
turn on, for how long and when.
Personally, we're loving the freedom it provides as
opposed to the perceived restriction on the number
of appliances we can run.
Back to "basics" is a pleasure :)
Forget coal, forget nuclear - solar and wind power will, and can, provide for our needs, Escom.  Wake up, for goodness sake!!!  Before this country loses all credibility.


  1. how amazing. we need to get them on houses over here . every house. hot water and electricity. it will leave the fields open for food. dont forget electric cars charged by solar panels. I am aiming for this myself. I havent worked it all out yet but it will happen.

    1. Sol - Exactly. And wouldn't it be a wonderful sight to behold :)

      Unfortunately our (single) power producer has not even had the foresight to allow those with solar power to feed back to the grid, so they're even mssing out on that "maintenance free" power input :(

  2. Oh my goodness what a state of affairs. Not good all round with no reliable power. You are in the right place to harness the energy of the sun. I hope they build more solar farms soon for the benefit of all not just the few.

    1. Mum - It is VERY sad and an appalling state of affairs... As you say, we are privileged to be in Sunny South Africa - but when that is properly taken advantage of, no-one knows...

  3. Amazing sight! 80.000 homes is no small thing. We have fields of solar panels popping up everywhere as Sol said. It is a controversial subject as people say they should be growing food on the fields, the trouble is farmers get paid more for solar panels than they do for growing food because of the strangle hold of the supermarkets. We are in the process of putting solar panels on our factory, and will put some on our new house when we move. Our government are pushing for new nuclear power stations and fracking! They should be looking at wasting less energy!

    1. Chickpea - The main things with solar farms is they can be placed in non-fertile areas, thereby "freeing" up arable land. In the north of this country, where it is too hot / dry to grow much successfully, it is a perfect spot to place a solar farm.

      You won't regret installing solar panels on your factory / house :)

  4. I'd love to fit them on my house one day. Lack of foresight from governments isn't just limited to yours! Too many backhanders to get rid of fossil fuel power stations

    1. Kev - Evident "backhanding" world-wide may just be on a par with the time prior to the collapse of the Roman Empire, don't you think...?

  5. There are solar power "cell fields" all over North Georgia, but I don't know who uses the power, because we get all our electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority, and they get it from hydroelectric plants on our many rivers here.

    Running out of diesel is a problem here, too. There have been times when I had to go to two or three stations to find it, because sometimes it gets so high that the gas station owners just don't order it. The really massive price fluctuations here in hydrocarbon fuels make it tough on the retailers. If they buy when the price is high, then it drops suddenly, they have to lower their prices to move product and they lose money.

    What's a backhander?

    1. Harry - A backhander is what "quietly" goes into the back pocket...

    2. its a bribe. like picking a pocket, 2 people walk past each other to pretend nothing is happening one person, has money cupped in their hand so no one can see it from the way they are facing and holds it so the person who brushes by them in the opposite direction can take the money discreetly, then puts it in their back pocket so they didnt have to make a show of pulling their jacket forward to put it in their inside pocket. think Oliver Twist. I love how words come about.

    3. Sol - Oh, that was a wonderful explanation - thank you :)

    4. Hey Dani I love words and phrases. I find it all so interesting.

      I cant remember where but one language they call it A Stick. I cant remember but the word sounds like the noise Whack. strange but true.

  6. I never heard of that word. But it makes sense and it has style. We call that "on the take."

  7. We have twenty four solar panels on our shed roof.
    There is a fight going on here in Port Augusta to get a solar power station. We have a coal one at the moment but it is going to be replaced. They were talking nuclear, but the locals are fighting to go solar. With our heat and sunshine, it would be perfect! They have been successful with their campaign thus far with the powers that be at least listening.

    We have been successful with another green venture here in Port Augusta. I think you would be interested :)


    and on you tube https://www.youtube.com/user/SundropFarmsTV


    1. Tania - Oh, 24 panels - very cool :)

      Sounds like the locals round you have their heads screwed on right. Solar is the way forward! Just to let you know what we've discovered - solar panels work best when it is sunny, but not too hot. Excessive heat reduces the efficiency of the solar power production of the panels.

  8. I wanted solar panels when we moved to the country but it wasn't possible. Despite being connected to the grid, I've become very aware of my power usage - I try to only turn on lights/appliances when necessary and turn them off when not. I also unplug everything that continues to use power even when *off.* Meanwhile, in our part of the world, the powers that be are putting in more natural gas pipelines, fracking, trying to mine uranium, and doing everything except consider that maybe we aught to consider reducing our fuel usage - and to look to solar and wind for what we do need.

    1. Cherie - I am so thrilled that we persevered - I would hate to be throwing good money away especially when Escom, our sole power producer, increases the electricity charge to cover their shortfall and shortsightedness.

      They are seriously discussing fracking here too. Given the success of the solar array and the isolated wind farms, I reckon they should be focussing more on the latter than the former.


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