What to know when considering an investment in Solar Energy:
Solar Panels come in many flavours, 350 W panels are considered to be efficient and anything less than 300 W not so much. Less efficiency = more panels = higher upfront cost and more space required.
Inverters are responsible for converting the energy generated by the solar panels into actual usable electricity. These also come in different flavours. We recommend Hybrid Smart Inverters, which offers the best value and supports a grid-tied system which is recommended (where possible).
The average household in Southern Africa consumes about 900 kWh per month, which translates to about 30 kWh per day (2 adults and 2 toddlers, 3 bedroom house).
To generate enough electricity to sustain the above average, you’ll need about 16 x 350 W panels assuming 6-8 hours of good sunlight per day. There are also energy losses in a typical system which needs to be factored in. So let’s say 18 panels (kWh = W x Time / 1000).
Energy companies usually pay you for surplus energy generated. This does not apply to all countries however. In South Africa it is unlikely that the government owned energy company will pay for surplus energy generated during the day, so we suggest a battery bank in these instances so that you can store electricity for after work usage (when the sun is usually down and peak rates / blackouts apply). This will save you money by using your own stored energy rather than the paid-for energy at peak rates.
Batteries are expensive, and its important to have the right kind. The amount of batteries required depends on the amount of time you want to run your energy without solar charge, consider rainy days with limited or no sunlight.
A grid-tied system means that you can fall back on national grid power (Eskom as an example) when required, and we recommend this as a back-up.
Don’t be mis-lead by offers that seem to be too good to be true, as they usually are. Make sure your investment goes towards the right solution that actually works for your environment and energy needs.
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How to Finance a Home Solar Energy System:
When one looks at the initial cost of solar powering a home, many of us cringe at having to fork out to install the solar items that get us off grid either partially or completely.
A solar power system is an expensive home addition but it’s an extremely beneficial one, particularly given ESKOM’s price hike. If you don’t have thousands of Rands to pay for these solar power systems up front, there are other ways in which you can pay for your home to be eco-friendly…
One of the most obvious ways would be to apply for a loan for your residential solar power system. The problem with a loan is that the payments can be exorbitant, and you could pay off a solar power system for years to come. A more economical alternative is to increase the bond on your home to include your solar system.
Getting finance for your solar power system might not be as difficult as you think. The most cost effective and economical way of financing solar power products like solar panels and solar geysers is to include it as part of your home bond. Bonds are long term loans and these loans can easily include your solar power products without increasing the monthly payment too much.
If you have a long-term loan, one that will be paid off for the next 20 years or so, including your solar power system within your bond makes a lot of sense. In many cases, the monthly savings you will make from your solar power products will likely exceed the monthly bond payments for the system itself.
There are many benefits to using a solar power system in your home, and the payback is rewarding. solar panels and solar water heaters are only some of the solar power products available to install in your home. As electricity prices increase, so will your solar savings increase pro-rata.
Another great benefit that many of us overlook when installing a solar power system is that the solar system will increase the value of our home, especially in South Africa at a time when everyone is trying to find ways to avoid escalating electricity tariffs.
So, if you’re currently in the market for a new home, solar products such as a solar heater are that much more available to you through your bond. Certainly, finances shouldn’t limit you from using a solar power system within your home.
Source: Urban Sprout