How does a solar system work?
Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight with photovoltaic cells, generating direct current (DC) energy. Through inverter technology (where needed), the DC energy is then converted into usable alternating current (AC) energy and distributed accordingly. Most common appliances use AC energy, hence the need for invertor technology.
Can I be totally independent of Eskom with a renewable solution?
Purely installing solar panels does not mean that you can go off the grid. The possibility of going off the grid (no-Eskom), is through solar-plus-storage systems that include a battery that captures and stores the excess solar energy generated by the PV system. Although powerful, sunshine can be intermittent and as such we recommend you install solar batteries to stay powered all the time.
What is a Grid-Tied System?
A Grid tied system means you are still tied into the electricity supplying grid. In South Africa terms that means you are still connected for the electricity you receive from Eskom. A grid-tied system means that you cannot store any energy generated from your solar array, and if the grid goes down at night (load shedding), you have no power.
What is a Hybrid PV System?
Hybrid systems will include the use of batteries. These systems have a higher initial layout cost, but the battery allows one to store energy that has been generated, for later use. Thus, if the grid goes down, your system still can generate power.
Will I see a difference in my appliance functioning when on solar?
There is no difference between solar or grid generated power. Therefore, all your appliances and lights will function normally. However due to using a solar solution, you will be saving on your electricity bill.
Will the potential of hail stones damage my solar panels?
Manufacturers ensure that their products can withstand harsh climatic conditions, including hail. The possibility does exist that some thin film solar panels could be damaged by hail, but the actuality of that is small.
What is the Return on my Investment?
Your ROI is linked to your initial investment (system) vs your current energy running costs. And do not forget that electricity tariffs increase annually. Where a back-up generator is in use, the saving on diesel can be immediate should your system be geared to exclude a generator. On average, you can consider breakeven between 5 to 9 years and since most technology today carries 25-year warranties, any energy you generate beyond the breakeven point represents a profit on your investment.