Do you have questions about solar energy? Our FAQs are designed to give you an overview of solar technology, solar installation, and solar economics, so you’ll have the confidence to move towards a greener energy solution.
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In grid connected rooftop or small solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems, the DC power generated from a solar panel is converted to AC power using a power conditioning unit/Inverter and is fed to the grid.
A 1 kW rooftop system generally requires 4 sq. meters of shadow-free area. However, actual area requirement may vary depending on the efficiency of solar module, and their placement etc.
Solar modules (and cells within) need uninterrupted sunlight to produce maximum
electrical energy. With the shadow even on a part of the module, the generation
reduces to a great extent thereby wasting installed system capacity. Also, prolonged
(regular, though intermittent) shadow on some cells or modules reduces their life
substantially and these become useless much before their standard life of over 25
Two Funded options are available:
With this solution, we provide our clients with a discount on their properties bulk tariff rate, providing cheaper energy rates at zero cost over a 20-year term. The cost of the solar energy is based on fixed percentage increases which are modelled to be lower than that of Eskom’s tariff increases. In addition to this, we maintain, insure and operate the system over the full term, thus de-risking the solution.
With this option, we replace electricity savings with a monthly roof rental fee based on the roof occupancy metrics of the solar panels. In addition, these rental agreements are based on a 20-year term, of which we will maintain, insure and operate the system over the term, thus de-risking the solution for our clients.
“What if I make more electricity than I may need?”
There are options available, which allow you to feed excess electricity back into the grid:
Net metering is where consumers use what they need, and excess is sold back into the grid. However, a bi-directional meter is required to allow the excess electrical current to flow back into the grid. The most significant setback to the bi-directional meter is that the user is charged a fixed rate for installation. An additional downside is that the excess electricity’s buyback amount is often lower than what the power utility charges per unit to supply. To cover the installation costs, you would need to produce excess units per day to break even on the installation costs before you can start to see “earnings” from the excess electricity you may have produced.
A Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is a payment for electricity fed into the supply grid from a renewable energy source, such as solar panels. FiTs can be mandated by the government or offered voluntarily by an electricity retailer.
At the end of 2007, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) commissioned the development of a Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) for South Africa, under its authority to regulate electricity tariffs in the country. The feed-in tariff requires the Renewable Energy Purchasing Agency (REPA), in this case the Single Buyer Office (SBO) of the national electricity utility Eskom, to purchase renewable energy from qualifying generators at pre-determined prices. These predetermined prices act as an incentive to renewable energy developers and private investors by reducing financial risk and providing market certainty.