Solar Systems & Solutions  Explained- Heading to very informative page

Is it possible to do a solar energy system DIY?

 Solar Solutions as a DIY Projectyes indeed it is, a lot of people prefer to do it self or at least to do the preparations in order to have a battery room, or run the ducting for the cables. or mount the photovoltaic Solar Panel on the roof .

We can also advise you on your product, and only assist at the very last moment with the critical connections and Inverter programming if need be.

What is the difference between a Back-up, a Hybrid  and a Grid Tie system?

Back-up power systems are purely designed to give you confidence in supply for instance if you require an 8 hour backup energy supply we design your system accordingly. This supplies you with power when there is an Eskom system failure or blackout or load shed, and it can be designed WITH or WITHOUT using solar panels.

Hybrid (also known as an Off Grid system) is effectively an advanced back-up system which works with Solar Panels. Your Inverter is more intelligent than that used in a power Backup system. Brands we use are Outback or Victron. We design the system to still give you a certain amount of back up at any time. Whatever is harvested from the SUN is used first as your energy source and when you run out of sun power, a Seamless transfer of power takes place to Eskom power

The Grid Tie inverter systems is at this stage the most cost effective system, but has no back-up facility or any batteries. So whenever you have SUN available your Grid Tie system supports and supplies power to your network. If you have a lot of photovoltaic solar panels and harvesting more than you actually use, the extra power is effectively sold back to Eskom — so Eskom becomes your battery bank.

Exmaple Solar Solutions Installation

Can I have a Off-grid Hybrid system driven by Photovoltaic Solar panels  and backed  up by Eskom?

YES, that is what is referred to as a Hybrid system or an Off-Grid system, and the perfect way to start your investment. The idea is to make use of a proper power inverter; we prefer either VICTRON or OUTBACK and combine this with your solar system. The system can then be programmed to always first use and supply your house with the energy which is harvested from the SUN and then use the Eskom power And at the same time you also ensure for sufficient backup time.

How long would it take to repay the capital investment at the cost of solar?

solar-system-repay-investmentUnfortunately with our current deflating currency and the relative “low cost” of our electricity – Going Solar as a pure Investment is  lucrative ON THE BASIS OF HAVING IT PART OF CAPITAL INVESTMENT ONLY– You can NOT recover your costs 100% .Just as you think you done, you will require new batteries etc. Systems, which do not require Battery backup i.e. GRID TIE is a better PURE Financial investment as long term maintenance is Less and initial cost is lower.

With the electricity tariffs constantly increasing this is not 100% certain and it will also depend on your system size. Bigger systems will naturally be more competitive. From our experience (when well managed) you can repay your total investment on GRID TIE systems between 5 and 8 years.

On other systems, Hybrid or off-grid- The only serviceable items in the long run are the batteries which will need an upgrade or replacement every 5 to 8 years. Depending on the initial investment into the correct solar  batteries  & also how they are looked after will depend on your ability to repay same.

See our comparative cost

Can I have such a big system to connect to Eskom and sell power back to Eskom?

YES AND NO, indeed you can. Although legislation is not in place yet, it is on the way. So a few years down the line you will actually be able to sell back to Eskom at a higher rate than which you are currently buying at however at the moment you can connect and do it, but effectively you sell power back at the same rate you are solar-system-replace-eskombuying it for. Say for instance you use 20kW.h per day and you have a 15kW.h per day solar system, the NETT affect will be that you buy only 5kW per day from Eskom. During the day you might in fact have your meter turning backwards but you will still be drawing energy and the NETT will be 5kW.h. This is known as a Grid Tie system OR some Off-Grid (Hybrid systems) can also do the same.

NB: Most of the New PRE-PAY meters especially the 3 Phase systems, DOES NOT ALLOW feedback to the Grid- Or otherwise explained – It will allow you to feedback- but instead of Deducting what you feedback, it actually add it to your BILL, so what you feedback- YOU pay for , be aware of this!! The Power meter have to be a 4 Quadrant meter, Make sure this is indeed so- Most Meters in BIG estates are 1 Quadrant which will limit you, simply because the estate might be buying power at different BULK rates from Eskom.

NB: Although feeding back into Grid is possible, PlanmyPower does not promote this until legislation is approved

I got some quotes from different suppliers but the prices vary a lot, why?

Without looking at your quote we cannot really comment. However we would suggest a few basic things which you must compare and ask your supplier the same questions;

Solar Power Inverter & Solar regulators - this is like your cars engines If you have a proper engine you can drive well and very long. We only use Victron (DUTCH). Outback (USA) or SMA (GERMAN) systems because of it’s reliability, 3 years and SMA (10 years) warrantee and very good system efficiency. These products have been tested and proven on reliability and efficiency with a very small percentage of failure.

Why would I want a solar system?

why-solarIt is a known fact that electric tariffs increase annually, and the power supply reliability becomes doubtful by the day. Currently there are daily TV ads urging us to cut down on power usage in our homes.

In more than one way, considering and looking at alternative options of supporting our national electricity grid in any way is a win-win situation

Do I really need a photovoltaic solar solutions  system to help me through Eskom load shedding?

eskom-load-shedding-solarNo, solar panels are not required for this.

Like Eskom, photovoltaic Solar panels are an energy source. If you would have a power cut during the night for 8 hours, the fact that you have solar panels wont help a thing. You do however need a part of what makes up the full Solar System Kit and that is the Inverter/Charger and batteries. So if your requirements are merely to have a reliable electric supply- you are somewhat saved on your budget… However this is the First phase to you total Photovoltaic system!

Where do I start with a photovoltaic solar energy system ?

The first approach to considering alternative , Renewable or "a green” energy solution is to lsolar-where-to-startook it your own power consumption and see how you can reduce it. It will surprise you how much energy you can save, by investing only a few rand. A typical household, who daily average usage is for example 20kWh, can often reduce ¡t to less than 15kW.h. Your total investment to do this, might be R20000, but on the solar side, it will reduce your capital layout for a suitable solar system with up to R80 000.

 Start to investigate saving options

How do I know how much power my house use per month?

This varies from house hold to household, even two seemingly  identical households. For Example a household with two computers may use more than a household with only one computer. or the household preferring morning showers or evening baths. Your bill will display your average daily usage:

Dwelling size

Estimated daily usage

Estimated monthly usage

Up to 200 sq meter

7 kW.h - 20 kW.h per day

+ - 500 kW.h per month

200 - 500 sq meter

15 kW.h -25 kW.h per day

+ - 750 kW.h per month

350 - 500 sq meter

20 kW.h - 30 kW.h per day

+ - 900 kW.h per month

500 - 1000 sq meter

25 kW.h - 40 kW.h per day

+ - 1200 kW.h per month

Can I start with a small photovoltaic solar energy system and expand with time? What should I be looking for?

Solar Solutions Start with a Small SystemYes, Absolutely, BUT (yes always a but), it is important to invest in the right equipment from the beginning. The most important is to invest in a system which you can add onto, without making what you have redundant Solar panels can be added. Batteries can be added, but your biggest single item cash layout is the Inverter and Solar regulator.

It is VERY important that you choose these products well in order to add onto the system in the future without making these items redundant. Then you can start off with a system at a cost of less than R40,000 and expand that to a system worth R300,000 without a problem

Does a photovoltaic solar energy system add value to my property?

Solar Solutions add value to PropertiesAbsolutely, banks like ABSA and Nedbank financed Energy systems for dwellings and acknowledged the capital investment into the property a a capital property investment.

The system then becomes a part of the property which cannot be moved when the property gets sold.

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