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CHOOSING A SUITABLE FINANCE MODEL FOR A PV SYSTEM

A Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system can save homeowners and small businesses up to a third of their electricity costs. They are also VAT deductible and qualify for a 12b tax benefit, which can result in additional savings of 28% on cost. This, together with reduced exposure to energy price hikes, have boosted demand. However, the high up-front cost of procurement and installation is a barrier, which has prompted a growing number of banks to offer incentives for businesses and homeowners to install solar PV panels.

For a list of accredited solar PV installers visit the PV Green Card website or the SAPVIA website.

Financial viability

The financial viability of solar PV depends on installation size; modularity; technology choice and exchange rate; location, roof type and roof orientation; client’s present electricity tariff, and client’s consumption patterns.

On average, a residential or small business property might require a 3-5kWp solar PV system. For these systems, a price tag of approximately R90 000 (~R22/Wp) can be expected. ‘Additional operations and maintenance costs may also have to be considered,’ explains Green Cape Energy Analyst, Reshmi Muringathuparambil.

‘However, it is highly recommended that EPCs are consulted for an accurate quote or cost estimate based on the property’s unique consumption profile and characteristics,’ she adds.

Choosing a suitable financial model depends on the client’s risk profile, and financial standing explains Muringathuparambil.

Some considerations include:

  • The CAPEX budget availability to buy the required system   outright.
  • Protection against future electricity tariff increases.
  • Ownership of the property.
  • Tax benefits of owning the system.
  • The business has a building portfolio and wants to consider systems for all of them.

We discuss the available finance solutions with SAPVIA members:

NEDBANK

Nedbank Business Banking offers term loans and asset-based finance solutions with extended terms of up to 10 years for clients requiring direct ownership of the equipment,’ explains Head of Transformation and Sustainability, Mark Boshoff.

Nedbank primarily considers photovoltaic equipment and heat exchange (solar geysers) for finance; However, alternative sources of renewable energy are also considered from reputable service providers offering tried and tested solutions.

For clients who prefer third party ownership Nedbank offers rental discounting solutions and have developed solutions catering to Independent Power Producers utilising Power Producer Agreements to end-users. ‘Once again the terms are extended to consider payback periods of the equipment,’ explains Boshoff.

‘Each client is credit vetted individually, and the process is confidential as required by the various pieces of legislation affecting banks. We do not make use of suppliers to provide leads at a fee or utilise the supplier as an administrator organising the finance on behalf of the client.’

The Nedbank Renewable Energy Finance Solution includes the cost of the equipment, installation costs and other costs reasonably associated with the installation.

‘Depending on the credit standing of the applicant deposits, security and other risk mitigants are considered,’ explains Boshoff.  In some instances, special notarial bonds are requested over the assets.

‘Deposits are not usually considered although clients are advised on the cash flow implications on the funding.’

The only limitation is the client’s ability to service the debt he explains.

DISTRIBUTED POWER AFRICA

Distributed Power Africa (DPA) is a market leader in Africa in innovative renewable energy solutions. ‘DPA’s mission is to increase the continent’s uptake of renewable solar energy as a comprehensive and reliable source of power by eliminating the barrier of initial capital outlay, optimising power usage, and reducing costs,’ says DPA Head of Marketing, Vuyisile Ndlovu.

They supply commercial & industrial businesses and individuals with efficient green solar energy without an initial capital outlay.

‘DPA offers Power Lease Financing where you pay a fixed rate for the contract period of 15 years – with zero deposit,’ says Ndlovu.

They finance a 15-year lease for the engineering & installation of the entire solar system. DPA also operates, monitor and maintains the plant for the entire period at no additional cost.

‘We do not offer solar loans but finance solar projects.  We have an Asset finance option in partnership with banks where we build the system for the customer through a re-payment plan with the bank.’

DPA requires no security.  The plant remains DPA property with an option to purchase or renew at the end of the lease.

‘Our model is a zero-technology risk and zero upfront investment, which eliminates the biggest barriers of solar adoption,’ Ndlovu adds.

 SAPVIA has a list of financers and solar PV installers with PV GreenCards. Find the list on https://www.sapvia.co.za/members-service-directory/ or www.pvgreencard.co.za/reg/installers/

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