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Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I install a solar energy system on my home or business?
3 reasons primarily dominate reasons for installing solar, namely
Cost reduction. Renewable energy saves money, has a really short payback period and costs less than Eskom power over relatively short timeframes.
Independence. The maintenance of lifestyle or continuity of business irrespective of Eskom, Infrastructural and Copper theft woes, is becoming a vital consideration.
Environmental. Renewable energy is a key technology in the improvement of our environment and the preservation of the planet for future generations. We can do our bit.
Does my roof need to face directly north in order to go solar?
No. While we favour northerly installations we have a great deal of flexibility in the direction panels can be mounted, many East & West options make sense as well.
How many panels do I need?
This depends on what we want to achieve and what equipment the panels are controlled by. Different inverters and charge controllers have minimum and maximum as well as optimum numbers of panels. The number of panels ranges from 2 to many tens of modules. Many residential hybrid solutions are based on 10 panel arrays.
What can I do if my roof is not adequate for a solar array?
Often we find roof not suited to PV panel installation. Some solutions include installing panels on ground based frames or on carports designed for this purpose. Other solutions might be based on battery only Power Security offerings.
How does a battery bank complement a solar power system?
Batteries offer two great advantages – Backup & Solar Self-Consumption storage.
The first, Backup, is understood – that the batteries provide power when Eskom is missing.
The second, Solar Self-Consumption, is about storing energy that is produced from the sun but not used during the day. This is free solar energy being used at night rather than Eskom!
What's the difference between a grid-tied inverter and a hybrid inverter?
A Grid Tied system adds solar power to the incoming Eskom supply, thereby reducing the demand on Eskom and the monthly bills. It provides no energy storage and has to switch off if Eskom goes missing (for safety & national standards reasons). So the Grid Tied system provides cost saving but no Power Security.
Grid Tied systems are most appropriate for Commercial application
A (true) Hybrid system provides the Grid Tied service as well as Power Security by adding battery capacity and control. Hybrid systems provide a blend of power from Solar, Battery and Eskom to give you the very best economics, control and independence.
Hybrid systems are most applicable for Residential application as one can operate “Near Grid” rather than “Off Grid” making your monthly power requirements BUT having Eskom as a backup on your rules.
What is the meaning of "A True Hybrid Inverter"?
Many suppliers call battery inverters with integrated battery chargers a “Hybrid Inverter”. This is fair as it is a hybrid of these two technologies. These inverters use solar panels to charge batteries and provide this power to Essential (Backed-up) Loads only.
A True Hybrid is called a Smart Hybrid Inverter as it is capable of blending any combination of Solar power, Battery and Eskom to provide a flexible and high-efficiency solution. Typical supply priority is programmed so that solar power generated during the day is used to power the Essential as well as the Non-Essential Loads. Power not used, but generated during the day, is stored in batteries for use after-hours by both Essential and Non-Essential loads.
The Smart True Hybrid Inverter is the technology to create a “Near Grid” system – that is a self-sufficient system using Eskom on your rules and as a back-up only.
What is export-power-limiting (EPL) and why do I need it?
EPL is control system / device with which solar systems prevent feeding power back to Eskom.
We need EPL for several reasons:
- Preventing feed-back to Eskom where it is not allowed
- Preventing feed-back to certain pre-paid electricity meters which alarm in this case.
- Ensuring maximum Solar Self-Consumption by allowing Smart Hybrid Inverters to provide solar and battery power to Non-Essential loads
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