Corporate and Investment
Solar Install
Sectors 24 Jan 2024

Empowering SA businesses to beat loadshedding with solar solutions

An industry-first digital platform from Standard Bank assesses your business case for solar power and lets you compare proposals from accredited providers at no cost. Here’s how. by Trevor Crighton

When we first started working on PowerPulse, we didn’t foresee the extent of the uncertainty over electricity security in South Africa,” says Jaco Burger, Head: Corporate Venturing at Standard Bank and one of the founders of PowerPulse. This unique digital platform service is changing the way South African businesses reduce their dependence on an unstable national grid.

“But in 2022, when the country faced record levels of loadshedding – at the same time that the price of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and battery storage started to drop dramatically – we saw a massive transition in the energy landscape,” explains Burger.

“Making the switch to sustainable energy solutions started to make solid business sense. So we decided to focus on helping South African businesses to take back control of their energy supply in the simplest, smartest and most secure way – via an end-to-end digital solution.”

Loadshedding is here to stay, escalating year on year

According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Eskom fleet Energy Availability Factor (EAF) continued to decline in 2022, with an average EAF of 58.1%, compared to 61.7% for 2021 and 65% for 2020, largely due to the increase of unplanned outages. Then, 2022 overtook 2021 as the most intensive loadshedding year yet – and 2023 surpassed the 2022 loadshedding total in its first quarter.

The answer to energy uncertainty

“At Standard Bank, we’re compelled to support businesses in challenging times. We’re very conscious of climate change and the need for a just transition. But ultimately, we must meet the immediate needs of our clients – and it’s our privilege as bankers to harness financial resources for growth,” says Burger.

“PowerPulse allows businesses to manage uncertainty – both in terms of unreliable energy supply and how to solve for this – as well as the uncertainty of which suppliers to trust in a complex and rapidly growing solar industry. We want to introduce trust into a fragmented system so businesses can make more informed, data-driven decisions, endorsed by a brand with the stature of Standard Bank.”

A sustainable solution to a short-term problem

“When we started the process, we soon realised how little we really knew,” explains Bennie Wannenberg, Manager of the Waboomsrivier Co-Op. The Waboomsrivier Winery in Breërivier used PowerPulse to explore cheaper and more sustainable alternatives to grid power. They now use solar as their primary source of power.

“PowerPulse helped us assess our feasibility and the sizing of the system, led us through the tender process and ensured we made an easy decision about which solution provider to use,” says Wannenberg.

While loadshedding is forecast to last until at least 2028, Burger says solar should still be viewed as a short-term problem in the greater scheme of global energy security. “Installing fit-for-purpose renewable energy solutions is a long-term solution to a short-term problem. It will have benefits far beyond just ‘keeping the lights on’ over the next few years – including hedging against the rising costs of gridgenerated power, sharpening your business’s competitive edge, and ensuring you’re ahead of the game as the just energy transition inevitably gathers momentum to shape the business landscape in South Africa and beyond.”

How does PowerPulse work?

PowerPulse aims to make every step of the solar journey as simple and business-driven as possible ¬– whether or not you’re an existing Standard Bank client.

1. Register for PowerPulse and upload basic information about your business and energy needs.

2. Receive a detailed feasibility report based on the scale, cost and potential savings of a hybrid solar system. You can also use the feasibility calculator to explore different scenarios.

3. Match with three accredited solar providers and get a consolidated proposal report so that you can easily compare solutions and costs to make the best choice for your business.

4. Explore a seamless solar funding solution from Standard Bank or choose your own funding option.

5. Get personal support from an expert concierge service team – from feasibility through to installation.

PowerPulse connects you to the right solar solution for your business.

Learn more and sign up at