With Solar Panels, an Inverter and Batteries you will at least be saving money via self consumption AND escaping the vagaries of loadshedding.
Alan from Straton Solar says that he experiences many people coming to him for a loadshedding solution and wanting a solution that is equal to the price they would pay on a generator OR they come with quotes from companies that are basically stationers or computer part suppliers or some such and need to still install the equipment themselves.
“My powers of saying No have increased somewhat,”says Alan. No in terms of; “No, you cannot get blood out of a stone” or “No a rand is a rand is a rand” or “No – you need to make an informed decision based on getting the maximum return of at least 20 years out of whatever you install. A solar system takes 7 years to pay back (for personal use) and pays back immediately for a business that can take advantage of Section 12B of the Income Tax Act.”
So – if you buy crappy batteries and a no name no warranty greater than 2 years inverter installed by someone without an electrician’s wireman’s license then you are courting disaster.
Ethical suppliers and installers would rather walk away from supplying someone with sub standard equipment (i.e. equipment that has not been extensively field tested) just to make the sale – that way we can all sleep better at night, the supplier doesn’t have to field calls from irate clients that were lied to.
The Stone Cold Hard Facts are:
- Install a solar system sourced from a reputable company with a track record
- Install an Inverter that you tie to the grid – this will get you money back in some municipalities like the Nelson Mandlea Bay Municipality
- Make sure that your inverter has a decent guarantee – 5 years minimum
- The Balance of System component are very important – the right connectors, cables and fixings
- Be aware of galvanic corrosion
- Make sure that your Solar Panels are all from the same batch, same factory and same type – don’t mix and match
- Make sure that your roof has the right pitch and orientation
- Make sure that your roof trusses have nail plates and not nails
- Get a Certificate of Compliance
- Get a roof inspection done – for your insurance
- Buy the BEST batteries that you can – a number of locally available Lithium Ion batteries have a 10 year guarantee – like the Tesla Powerwall
- Remember that you are buying cycles when buying batteries – just like buying fuel for a generator.
- Check the recycling policy for your batteries, panels and equipment
- Make sure that your inverter and batteries are installed in a cool well ventilated room
- If possible purchase a system able to track the production of each individual solar panel
- Be very aware of shadow on your installation
- Use an electrician that belongs to a recognised association like the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA)
- Decide on the type of inverter, panels and batteries you want and ONLY THEN ask for quotes from reputable installers
- Pay cash for your system.
Alan Straton from Straton Solar says; “The area in which we operate is the Eastern Cape and we are willing to consult and give advice to anyone outside of the Eastern Cape on the types of quality equipment available as well as play referree when it comes to assessing different offerings from suppliers and installers.”
Video: Considering Solar and Batteries? Here goeth the lesson!