Following a successful year for solar panel installations on South African homes in 2023, the blending of technology with solar energy is changing how we view home efficiency and self-reliance.

This is the word from Versofy Solar co-founder and CEO Ross Mains-Sheard, who says: “There’s an incredible opportunity to combine technology with daily home use to create homes that are smarter, more efficient, and more cost-effective. As smart home gadgets and apps become more common, we’re seeing new, exciting developments that are tailored to improve our daily lives and help households save money.”

He points out that a necessary shift is taking place both globally, as well as here in South Africa, where the focus on using technology, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), to optimise home energy use is being taken more seriously than ever before.

“Consider the traditional South African home, where energy use can often be inefficient. There is a real opportunity to transform this with smart technology to maximise the use of solar energy and reduce reliance on the grid. By tracking energy consumption and production in real time, South Africans can make smarter energy decisions to lower usage and costs, and upgrade their system when needed.”

This approach to home energy management is a meaningful first step towards creating efficient, connected homes. “Apps that accompany solar systems are a great foundation on which other technology can be integrated, including ways to manage and monitor a household’s water use. As a water-scarce country, the benefits of this for South Africa are enormous, and it’s through examples like these that we see the future of technology in the home.”

Beyond immediate energy savings and efficiency, this vision has far-reaching economic implications. “Our long-term goal is to reach a point where homes with solar are more economically viable than those without. This isn’t a distant dream either. With a few more adjustments in energy tariffs, we could be there, leading to mass adoption of solar technology.

“It also opens up the chance for individual households to sell energy back to the grid once net metering is introduced. The vision is to reduce the overall cost of electricity for homes with solar, making it an attractive option irrespective of load shedding scenarios,” explains Mains-Sheard.

These technological innovations also align with global trends in sustainable living. As we move towards a more energy-conscious future, the role of technology in enhancing solar energy systems becomes increasingly crucial.

“In the South African context, this also speaks to households achieving greater levels of independence from the national grid through solar energy. These advancements promise a reduction in carbon footprint and energy costs and a significant enhancement in the quality of life.”