Alternative Energy Sources for your Epic Business

Hello darkness, my old friend...

Yes, you guessed it. “Load-shedding”, “power outages”, “an existential crisis waiting to happen”… Call it what you may, but for most South Africans it’s a reality that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. 

While load-shedding and petrol hikes have proven uncomfortable for most, it is the small business owners who are often left in the dark (ok we’ll stop now). They are left unable to function in their daily business practices and grappling for alternatives to keep their operations running smoothly.

That’s exactly why we’ve put together a list of alternative energy sources for your business.

#1: UPS systems (I mean you should really have one already!)

>What it is:

An uninterruptible power supply system (UPS) is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power when the main power supply or utility electricity fails. When the incoming power’s voltage levels are compromised, the UPS system switches to DC (direct current) battery power. It works by inverting it into AC (alternating current) power to run any connected equipment.

>How it works:

When it comes to running your business operations smoothly, A UPS is a workhorse of note. Not only does it allow for safe shutdown of computers and equipment, it also refines the quality of the power supply as it reaches your business and equipment.

Admittedly, there are many factors to consider around UPS, such as the duration of power supply being greatly determined by the size and design of the system. As an alternative energy source, UPS systems serve as a short term solution. The system only works if power banks are fully charged, and will often run flat before the main power supply is resolved.

>Best for:

If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution for lighter loads like office lighting, desktop computers and point of sale systems, then a UPS system is your best bet.

#2 Backup generators

>What it is:

Over the past couple of years, many small biz owners (especially restaurants) have turned to backup generators to help ease the pain of power interruptions. Typically, generators use diesel or gas, and convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

>How it works:

On average, gas generators can run for about 2-3 hours, whereas diesel generators can last you anywhere from 20-30 hours. Unfortunately, with the rise of fuel prices, generators can quickly become a very expensive solution. It also may present other issues such as the noise and fumes they emit. But considering the pros & cons of keeping your business operational, it is well worth it.

>Best for:

If your small business operates with power-intensive loads like data capturing, commercial refrigerators or a production line, then a backup generator may be the solution for you.

#3 Solar PV system

>What it is:

A solar PV system uses Photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Their sizes range greatly and with the abundance of sunlight in South Africa, solar PV systems are one of the most affordable kinds of power you can generate yourself.

>How it works:

Solar PV systems are commonly grid-tied, meaning that the inverters are reliant on the main power supply. Combining solar with a generator or UPS system serves as a great solution to keep your PV system working during day-time power outages.

Understandably, solar solutions are not cheap, so it’s important to choose a design that’s tailored to your business’s specific needs. More and more business owners are considering solar for the long term gains and the fact that load shedding is probably here to stay.

>Best for:

Looking for a long-term solution that will free you from load shedding and rising electrical costs? Well, if you’re willing to commit to the initial installation costs, a hybrid solar system will provide you with enough power to keep all the essentials running. This will enable you to save money on electricity (bonus points for renewable energy!). 

The Verdict

It’s up to the business owner to figure out the best alternative power solution specific to their industry. Fundrr is dedicated to providing SMEs with the funds they need to invest in these alternative energy solutions – our funds are unrestricted which means the choice is yours!

With the right system & Funding Partner, you can remove “reliable power supply” from your list of worries!

Apply for EPIC BIZ FUNDING right here.


Nicole Chilenje, “Load Shedding Solutions for Your Business”, 17 April 2020

“Load shedding is back, so here’s an answer to the question: battery backup or generator?”, 17 October 2021

Valli Vishnubhotla, “14 Alternative Energy Sources That Can Make a Difference”, 19 April 2022

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