What you need to know

About Solar

What is Solar?

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert light into an electric currentusing the photovoltaic effect.[1]

Types of

Solar Solutions

Off-grid Energy Solutions

It is possible to install a solar system that is independent of the electrical grid. This is called an off-grid system, and it requires that the solar panels are able to produce enough electricity to cover 100% of the energy needs of the buildling. Most homes have higher electricity demand in the evening or at night, so off-grid systems usually incorporate either a battery (to store energy produced during the day), a backup source of energy (like a generator), or both. Off-grid systems are more complex and less flexible than grid-tied systems.
Off-grid systems are most common in remote locations without utility service. Off-grid solar-electric systems operate independently from the local utility grid to provide electricity to a home, building, boat, or RV (or remote agricultural pumps, gates, traffic signs, etc.). These systems typically require either a battery bank (to store solar electricity for use during nighttime or cloudy weather) a backup source of energy (like a generator), or both.  An off-grid solar system must be large enough to produce enough electricity to cover 100% of the energy needs of the buildling.  In all off-grid scenarios, electrical usage must be monitored and kept below the maximum output of the panels and batteries as there is no grid-source to supply excess power.

System components:

  • PV panels
  • battery bank
  • charge controller (to protect the battery bank from overcharge)
  • inverter
  • required electrical safety gear (i.e. fuses, breakers, disconnects)
  • monitoring system to balance energy consumption with production
Grid-Tie Energy Solutions– quickest return on investment

Grid-tied systems are the most common type of solar PV system. Grid-tied systems are connected to the electrical grid, and allow residents of a building to use solar energy as well as electricity from the grid. Grid-tied systems do not need to produce 100% of the electricty demand for a home or business. When there is no demand for energy, the solar panels send excess electricity back out into the grid for use elsewhere. When a home or business is using energy, but the solar panels aren’t producing enough energy (at night, or on a stormy day), electricity from the grid supplements or replaces electricity from the panels

Living with a grid-tied solar PV system is no different than living with utility electricity, except that some or all of the electricity you use comes from the sun. Grid-tied systems do not provide protection from power outages. When the electrical grid fails, grid-tied systems will not continue to operate. This allows utility employees to fix the power lines safely without wasting time identifying solar energy systems that are still feeding electricity into the power lines.

System components:

  • PV panels (multiple panels make up an array)
  • inverter(s)
  • required electrical safety gear (i.e. fuses, breakers, disconnects)
  • monitoring system to monitor energy production (optional)
Hybrid Energy Solutions

A hybrid system provides energy in a number of ways creating a very stable and reliable energy source. Using a combination of grid-tie as well as off-grid solutions you are ensured of an uninterrupted power source.

Grid-tied systems can be upgraded to include a battery backup: a bank of deep-cycle batteries. The backup battery is charged by both the grid and the solar panels. In the event of an outage, the backup battery will need to be switched on either manually or with an automatic system to provide backup power to the building.

System components:

  • PV panels
  • battery bank
  • charge controller (to protect the battery bank from overcharge)
  • inverter
  • required electrical safety gear (i.e. fuses, breakers, disconnects)
  • monitoring system to monitor energy production (optional)
DC or Portable Energy Solutions

A DC or portable solution for your basic power needs such as security lights, electric fences, pumps and for camping. This is the simplest of all solar energy solutions. Portable solar energy is a great way to utilize the power of the sun, while on the move!

WHY GO SOLAR?

REASONS TO CHANGE TO SOLAR

1

By going solar, you can greatly reduce or even totally eliminate your monthly electricity bill.

2

Solar systems can more than pay for themselves by increasing the value of your property.

3

Unlike conventional electricity, solar energy does not pollute. Lower your carbon footprint and gain peace of mind from knowing you’re doing the right thing for the earth.

4

Government grants may be possible from the DTI for companies who can then receive between 30-50% of investment.

5

Commercial banks use development finance institution funds to implement attractive schemes enabling “Green Loans”. Loan is subject to separate process for credit approval.

4

No more power cuts during load shedding. Modern solar technology provides customers with consistent, dependable, and reliable energy.

5

Generate your own power where there is no grid to connect to.

6

After the initial capital outlay there are no monthly costs involved with solar.

7

Generating your own electricity from a renewable power source will generate offset on future carbon tax.

8

12B Tax Allowance – accelerated capital allowance of 100% in the first year. This is also intended to help address the energy shortages facing South Africa in a more environmentally friendly way.