Comparing solar systems and generators


With our unreliable and expensive electricity, many South Africans have begun making use of alternative power options. One of the most common questions that arises during this process is whether it’s better to invest in a solar power system, or whether it would be better to make use of diesel generators. This question is quite complex, as it depends on a number of different factors, and therefore doesn’t have a single simple answer. Factors such as the type of solar power system required, future fuel prices, the annual Eskom price hike as well as the Rand/Dollar or Rand/Euro currency exchange all play a part.


Diesel generators have a low up-front cost, with even a modestly sized unit being able to provide enough power for most of the important appliances in the average home. Installation is relatively easy, although maintenance and constant refuelling can become tedious.

Solar power systems, in comparison, are relatively expensive up-front, but once installed, require virtually no maintenance. Most good solar panels will last between 25-30 years, making them a great long-term alternative power solution.




When comparing the cost a of solar power system to the purchase of a generator, it is important to remember that the diesel generator price does not include the fuel. Because of this, it may initially seem logical to choose the generator option, but when you sit back and calculate the amount that will be spent on fuel and maintenance over the equivalent design life of the solar system, the prices become much more comparable.


While solar is a bit more expensive in the short term, by taking the ever-increasing price of fuel into account, the cost of purchasing and running a generator is about the same as a solar system in the medium term. The long lifespan of solar power systems make them a perfect long-term alternative power investment, especially with South Africa’s unstable power situation.


When it comes to beating load shedding, it is also important to remember that solar doesn’t provide direct power like the generator does. Because of this, you will need an inverter and batteries to store the DC power produced, allowing you to continue powering your home or business when Eskom implements load shedding.




Solar power South Africa has some of the highest solar potential worldwide, with more than 2,500 hours of sunshine averaged a year. This makes it possible for your solar power system to reach its full potential.


Solar batteries are fast-acting, taking about 8 milliseconds for your home to switch over to battery power once the grid has gone down. This makes the transitional period virtually instant.

Most generators, on the other hand, have to be started manually, making the crossover period less fluid. If the generator runs out of fuel, it takes time and effort to refuel and start it up again. This process can quickly become tiresome, especially during peak load shedding times.




Whether we’re referring to atmospheric pollution or sound pollution, solar power systems are undoubtedly the greener option. Typical standby diesel generators produce 11-14 kilograms of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per megawatt hour of power generated. Prolonged exposure to this can lead to health hazards.




While the upfront costs of a solar power system may be higher than simply purchasing a generator, the long-term advantages, both financially as well as environmentally, push solar power ahead.


How Soventix can help


Soventix realises profitable photovoltaic projects, offering a variety of services from project development to financing, project realisation, operation and maintenance.

We strive to turn your solar power dream into a reality!

If you are interested in solar power installations, be sure to complete our contact form so that we can provide the best solutions for you.


Or you can contact us via:

Office number: +27 (0) 21 852 7333



Previous Posts
Solar power Africa: Morocco’s World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant
Going Solar: Solar Impulse 2 – Back in the Air and Breaking more Records
Easy and Effective ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint
Current Load Shedding Situation in South Africa
South Africa on Track to becoming Global Leader of Green Energy
Solar Impulse 2 Around-the-World Flight Update
A Guide to going Solar
Farming and Solar Power – Go Together like a Horse and Carriage
Solar Power FAQ
Considerations when Finding the Perfect Solar Installer
Soventix Solar Projects: Gauteng Grid-Tied Solution Taking Shape
Soventix Large Scale Solar Project Kicks Off in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
V&A Waterfront set to implement huge solar power project
South Africa ranks in Top 10 globally for solar power
South Africa on track for more utility-scale solar power plants
Robben Island set to run on solar power
Kenyan mall switches on largest solar carport system in Africa
What happened to load shedding
Understanding electricity consumption
Solar power advantages
How solar technology is improving informal settlements
Home solar options
Green Festivals – How Rocking the Daisies plays hard while treading lightly
Eskom turns to solar power to beat load shedding
Cutting fuel costs with innovative solar powered motorbikes
Why use solar power for home security?
Why do I need solar power?
Solar solutions for businesses
Installing solar on my roof
How to start my solar project
How much can I save with solar?
Commercial solar system project completed at ACA Threads, Cape Town
Large scale outdoor PV system completed at Quiver Tree Apartments, Stellenbosch
South Africa’s power crisis driving mines to renewable energy
New lithium battery technology could change solar power industry
How to finance your solar power systems
Comparing solar systems and generators
Understanding solar power language
Solar Impulse completes its historic solar energy flight to Hawaii
How to calculate the solar system size for your needs
Beating load shedding with photovoltaic solar systems
5 Solar tips for farmers to beat load shedding
5 Solar power tips to get through load shedding with ease
Solar cell breakthrough brightens the future of solar energy
How to beat load shedding. Solar power vs. Diesel Generators
Solar panels investigated. Which will suit your needs?
How farmers save money through solar energy
5 Clever ways agriculture can use solar power
Comparing solar power systems for your home
The Ecocapsule, a revolution in green design
Polycristalline vs. Thin Film Solar Panels
Everything you need to know when upgrading your solar power system
South Africa’s Solar Power Farms
Seamless Solar – Solar Panels that add to the beauty of your home
Solar powered cars – are they the future of motoring?
Solar power, battery – vs no battery backup system
Is solar energy expensive energy?
Load Shedding – How does it affect agriculture?
Ten easy steps for creating a green home
5 Things you didn’t know about solar cookers
Green power from the sea – harnessing wave energy
Selling electricity to Eskom. Can it be done?
Load Shedding – Is There An End In Sight?
Five Simple Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill at Home
Eskom’s Rebate Scheme for Small-Scale Renewable Energy – Is it for You?
Three Ways To Get Your Business Off The Power Grid
The Latest In Solar Power Technology For Your Home
Five ways farmers can reduce their carbon footprint
Why is solar power becoming more affordable?
Seven Facts About Owning A Solar Power System
Vrede en Lust leads the charge in the Cape’s solar-powered wine farms
Carbon Neutral Homes: Can they Exist?
Five easy steps for creating a green office
Solar Power and Agriculture
Different Sources of Renewable Energy
Solar Power and its Global Effects
Discover The Benefits of Household Solar Panels
Yingli Solar Panels
Solar PV Diesel Hybrid Solutions
Small-Scale Renewable Embedded Generation
Beat the Darkness of Load Shedding With Solar Backup Power!
Net Metering in the Cape Town Domestic Market