Suntricity Blog

A series of ideas and themes of interest, relating to
Eliminating Waste, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Renewable Technologies
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FirstLook™ NEW LOOK Blog

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FirstLook™ is always looking to understand the Electricity and Water consumption and cost in Schools from the perspective of: How can we make the data more interesting for the decision makers at schools.

Whilst providing relevant quality content will always be the primary objective, we do appreciate that presentation of the content must also be appealing, particularly understanding we are addressing a sector with very limited free time.

We are therefore happy to present the brand new landing page of FirstLook™, together with the new blog layout and overall a much "cleaner look".

Lots of changes are also ongoing at the "back end" of the Platform, which is only available to schools that are registered users of Firstlook™.

We absolutely love the refresh and more importantly, we hope you also do :)

If you haven't already signed up to FirstLook™, you can do that here >>>>

Northcliff High - Walking on Sunshine

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Northcliff High in Randburg, Johannesburg, took the leap of faith back in September 2017, to install a 40KW Solar PV System, way ahead of the curve, of what is soon to be a certain avalanche of Solar PV installations in Schools. And although Municipal KVA Incorrect Billing continues to question the viability of the investment, the above graph, which details the electricity consumption during the last weekend (17th & 18th August 2019), clearly illustrates the enormous savings being made from the school's solar system.

The graph is the real-time monitoring representation of electricity consumption from 00:00 on the 17th August 2019 to 24:00 on the 18th August 2019.

NOTE: Between 08:00 to 16:30 during the 17th & 18th August (deep into the winter), Northcliff Electricity Consumption was practically ZERO, as a direct result of the Solar PV System. The equivalent amount of electricity is of course being generated each and every single day of the year and will continue to do so for the next 25-years.

Therefore, whilst the vast majority of schools are presently receiving electricity increases of 12,5% in Johannesburg, Northcliff High will continue to mitigate these increases for some time to come. Once the issue regarding the Municipal Billing Error has been resolved and the credits granted by the Municipality, we will report the overall savings made and the correct payback of the long-term Solar Investment.

We thank Derek Wilke (Deputy Head at Northcliff High) for permission granted to share this data.

Water Increase Calculator

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Suntricity is pleased to introduce our EXCLUSIVE WATER INCREASE CALCULATOR (Johannesburg), which by simply entering your schools Average Monthly Water Consumption, will immediately calculate the additional cost your school will pay for water from July 2019.

The importance of Water Efficiency has become increasingly important from an environmental perspective and with average cost increases of over 12.00% the financial benefits are very clear.

To calculate the additional cost your schools will pay over the next year, visit and scroll down to the WATER INCREASE CALCULATOR on the Home Page.

Please do not hesitate to contact Hendry van Branden (Suntricity CEO) on 011 534 8695 or schedule a meeting by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2019/2020 Water Increases

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Following the publication of the annual increase of Water in March 2019 (See Here>>>>>>) and with schools already receiving their Invoices for August, we confirm the Average Cost of Water for Schools in Johannesburg is now R69.02 per KL including Sewage Charges.

As can be seen from the above graph, Suntricity has tracked the Evolution of Water Cost in Johannesburg since 2012. For the year 2019, Water/Sewage has increased by approximately 12.07%.

Bearing in mind the Average Water Consumption, this will impact your schools as follows:

Primary School: Average Consumption per Annum 5,500 KL: New Cost ±R379,630.00 (From R338,745.00)


Secondary/High School: Average Consumption per Annum 11,060 KL: New Cost ±R763,400.00 (From R681,185.00)


It's actually worth noting that Water/Sewage has effectively increased by 142% on the 2012 value and will no doubt continue this upward trend for the foreseeable future.

Electricity Increases 2019/2020

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With Municipal Invoices in Johannesburg already being received (in early August), Schools are, for the first time, seeing the effective increase in Electricity Tariffs, which came into effect in July.

The increase adds another approximately ± 12.3% to the annual Electricity bill, which for the average Primary School, implies ±R42,700 per annum.
Note: A more precise annual calculation will be published when the Summer Rates are presented in the October invoices.
You may also refer to the Water Tariff Increase for 2019/2020 here >>>>>

The old adage of How to Cook a Frog springs to mine: The best way to cook a frog is to put him in a pot of cold water and slowly bring to the boil. Tendencially, the frog would look to jump out of the pot, should he be places in hot water.

Schools can happily bask in the slowly warming waters being brought to the boil over time, absorbing all the additional cost by simply increasing the parents contribution of school fees. Let's face it, which parent could possibly criticise an SGB for not budgeting extra funds for the introduction of Efficiency and Cost saving measures? (Sic)

The Municipality has effectively increased the average school Electricity & Water Costs by a minimum of R80,000.00 between July 2019 and June 2020. In most schools this will easily surpass R100,000.00. It's another R10.00 a month per one will notice that surely (more Sic).

Alternatively, schools can choose to take action and save substantial amounts of money by simply being efficient and eliminate waste....It's a long process and it's hard work, which is certainly never the flavour of the month...but the rewards are enormous and will save hundreds of thousands of Rand each and every year for your school.

It could certainly be the difference of introducing White Boards to your school from the money saved on Electricity and Water. Worth it?
Act Now!!!

2019/2020 Water Increases UPDATE

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Having now received Water invoices from Schools in July 2019, the Estimated Readings detail the NEW 2019/2020 Water Charges, which came into effect in July 2019.

The following Increases will come as no surprise:

WATER CHARGES: R32.14 (From 28.70 up to 200 KL) 11.99% Increase
WATER CHARGES: R35.68 (From 28.70 above 200 KL) 14.99% Increase
SEWAGE CHARGES: R25.08 (From R22.82) 9.90% Increase
DEMAND MANAGEMENT LEVY: R219.58 (From R198.98) 10.35% Increase
VAT of course remains the same at 15%

Depending on your schools Average Monthly Water Consumption, this will translate to Rand Value as follows:
450 KL Average Monthly Consumption - Increase: R3,321.32 (Including VAT) Effective 12.05% - Annual Increase: R40,000.00
750 KL Average Monthly Consumption - Increase: R5,705.27 (Including VAT) Effective 12.37% - Annual Increase: R68,500.00
1,000 KL Average Monthly Consumption - Increase of: R7,691.90 (Including VAT) Effective 12.48% - Annual Increase: R92,300.00

Learn how to REDUCE YOUR WATER CONSUMPTION by up to 80% CLICK HERE >>>>>

For more information, you can also email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call directly to 072 083 6565 and speak to Hendry van Branden - CEO Suntricity.

AquaStop™ by Suntricity

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Suntricity began the Pilot Demonstration Project of AQUASTOP™ at Northcliff Primary School in Johannesburg on the 1st December 2017, which after the first 12-months achieved overall water reduction and cost by 50%, by simply controlling the amount of water consumed Outside of School Hours. This has helped the school mitigate the ever increasing costs of water, which has risen by a full 65% since 2016 in Johannesburg.

Suntricity is now ready to launch the planned roll out of AquaStop™ to a further 50 Schools in 2019 and we have pleasure inviting all schools in Johannesburg to participate in this exciting next phase.

Details of the initiative can be downloaded HERE >>>>>

ACT NOW: Be the first to contact Suntricity for more information, by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling directly to 072 083 6565 and speak to Hendry van Branden - CEO Suntricity.

Understanding Electricity Tariff Regimes

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Having previously discussed the theme of Is Your School Paying too much for Electricity, we have just completed a study of the Municipal Electricity Accounts of another Primary School in Johannesburg, which perfectly highlights the serious problem of Incorrect Tariff Regime.

As a Principal and SGB, you are of course expected to understand the different tariff regime the Municipality attributes to your school's Electricity Account. Indeed, the example detailed in the image above, clearly illustrates the school paying over R100,000.00 each year, which could definitely be avoided.

The Municipality of Johannesburg attributes tariff depending on the school's electricity consumption. This generally falls under one of the following tariff regimes:

LARGE CONSUMER TARIFF: The Municipality defines a Large Consumer tariff as: “...applicable to Business consumers, with supply capacities exceeding 100 kVA”. 

BUSINESS TARIFF: Similarly, the Municipality defines a Business Tariff Consumer as: “...applicable to supply consumption capacities not exceeding 100 kVA…”

The image above illustrates two Electricity Accounts at the same school. (Several Schools actually have two electricity accounts, generally caused by adding new buildings over the years). 

In the example, the accounts have very similar annual kWh consumption, although each account is on the different tariffs mentioned above. i.e. one account on Large Consumer Tariff, the other on Business Tariff.

The resulting electricity costs however, vary dramatically:

2017: Large Consumer Tariff: 89,007 kWh at a Cost R315,822.00 - Business Tariff: 83,983 kWh at a Cost of R206,502.00

2018: Large Consumer Tariff: 100,007 kWh at a Cost R315,906.00 - Business Tariff: 83,992 kWh at a Cost of R217,126.00

2019 (to June): Large Consumer Tariff: 48,606 kWh at a Cost R195,165.00 - Business Tariff: 42,126 kWh at a Cost of R115,013.00

Of course, there is no technical reason for the school to be on two different tariffs. The Large Consumer Account has been incorrectly attributed by the Municipality, which has gone unquestioned since at least 2012 and effectively means that over the intervening 8 years, the schools has supported an additional R800,000.00.

To change this is a very labourious process, implying monitoring, reporting, analysis, justifications and far too many meetings with the Municipality. The reward is however massive reductions on Electricity Costs, which will eventually pay for the various Efficiency Measures being implemented, such as LED Lighting and Solar PV, which will reduce the overall Electricity costs by over 60%.

Suntricity is ready and able to assist your school. Please do not hesitate to contact Hendry van Branden (Suntricity CEO) on 011 534 8695 or schedule a meeting by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..