Different Types of PV SOLAR SYSTEMS
A solar PV system typically comes in three configurations
System 1 Grid Tie
- No batteries, grid connected.
This system supplements your grid energy usage and is a very good option for reducing your electricity usage from the grid. In the event of a blackout or power outage, your solar system is forced to shut down. However, given that Eskom outages are not the issue, but cost savings are, this is a highly practical solution to dramatically reduce your electricity bill by producing all your daytime energy requirements, free from the sun, and avoiding the additional expense of a battery system.
A Grid tie system is highly cost-effective and has a much shorter payback period (ie: starts paying for itself from day 1).
System 2 Hybrid
- Batteries and a grid connection
Is commonly referred to as a hybrid system and with the correct installation will act as a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) in the event of a power outage. The PV system will charge up the batteries first and then the excess production will supplement your household/ business energy needs. Many of our clients start with system 1 with a plan to build up to a system 2 and then add battery back-up at a later stage as their budget allows to build up to a system 2 configuration. The great benefit of solar PV is that it’s entirely scalable and you can add to it as your needs grow. Clients typically opt for this when power outages are an ongoing issue.
System 3 Off Grid ( Island Style )
- Only batteries, no grid connection
Is useful for areas where no grid exists, such as farms or remote areas. The energy produced will charge up the batteries which should allow for two to three days’ worth of energy needs and these batteries will feed the power requirements of the property.
Why do I need to implement energy efficiency measures beforehand?
Implementing energy efficiency measures before you buy your PV system will reduce your electricity use and allow you to buy a smaller and less expensive system. For example, converting geysers which are your biggest electricity users to solar or heat pumps, installing LED low energy lighting, using gas for cooking, installing lighting motion sensors and so on. If you’re designing a new building, consider working with the architect and builder to incorporate renewable energy solutions into your design from the outset. In fact, some measures are already legislated. SANS 10400-XA: Energy Usage in Buildings, and SANS 204: Energy Efficiency in buildings requires a focused solution for areas such as water heating, whereby 50% of all hot water in new buildings needs to be produced by methods other than electrical element heating.
Analysing your electricity needs – No shooting in the dark
Calculating your electricity needs is the first step towards getting PV ready. A thorough examination of your electricity needs helps you determine the following:
- The size and cost of the system you will need.
- Fluctuations in your energy usage during the day and night and over the months to manage peak demands.
- Energy saving measures you can implement to reduce your electricity use before installing PV so that you save on the costs of a bigger system simply by being more efficient.
By conducting a load analysis, VANDOLPH Solar-SA will record the wattage and average daily use of all of the electrical devices that are plugged into your central power source such as refrigerators, lights, televisions, PCs, power tools, machinery and computer equipment. Some loads, like your refrigerator or electric fencing, use electricity all the time, while others, like power tools or large format printers, use electricity intermittently, known as selectable loads.
Some providers will ask you only for an electricity bill and attempt to provide a PV solution based on this, but the approach is fundamentally flawed and inaccurate since your bill cannot reveal day and night usage, selective loads or peak demands which need to be factored into your PV solution. A thorough load analysis is a must. We’ll visit your premises, set-up loggers on your electricity distribution board for at least a week to ten days, and provide you with a comprehensive view of where your electricity usage is going, and what steps we can take to help you reduce it. We will also be able to provide a very accurate indication of what your savings will be depending on what size system and the solutions we specify for you, so there is no shooting in the dark.
Get off the grid Step-by-Step with SOLAR-SA
Established in 2016, the VANDOLPH Solar-SA and partners is the largest and most successful renewable energy franchise network in South Africa, and today stands as an icon of service excellence and perfect installations in the industry. We have a network of over 5 companies part of the VANDOLPH Steel-SA Group branches nationally, and we pride ourselves on the fact that every client across residential and commercial portfolios is a contactable reference.
We constantly evolve our product solutions in line with new technologies, providing one of the most comprehensive renewable energy offerings for the residential and commercial sectors. Our suite of renewable energy solutions is procured only through premium, tier 1 suppliers who have the financial backing and proven reputation of standing by all product guarantees and warranties.
Our driving business philosophy is summed up in two words – “Perfect Service”. With over 1 000+ successful installations completed over the network of companies, we are extremely proud of our proven track record and unquestionably one of the highest service levels and business ethics in the industry.
Our renewable energy solutions and services include:
- Photovoltaic (PV) systems (for sun to electricity generation)
- Water heating solutions
- Solar water heating / solar geysers
- Heat pumps
- Bulk water heating
- Low energy lighting solutions (Commercial and Domestic)
- Energy consultancy services and auditing
- Installations and project management across residential and commercial projects.
- Green Finance