Frequently Asked Questions

The most frequently asked questions that you may find interesting and helpful too. These assist you to understand from 'others' perspectives

Each client has their own specific reasons, but the primary ones are: being power independent, not being the effect of Eskom's load shedding, saving money on electricity, eventually (once the system is paid off) to have free electriciy (and/or to channel savings in upgrading the system)

Yes, absolutely. Solar is deemed sustainable and renewable energy, meaning that it is "energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power.". Coal is burned, puts polution into the air, and it requires more and more coal in order to generate new power or electricity.

Photovoltaic (PV) | Photovoltaics is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry. The photovoltaic effect is commercially utilized for electricity generation and as photosensors.

Definition: relating to the production of electric current at the junction of two substances exposed to light.

Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.

Hybrid Solar Systems runs on solar power and/or mains power, with battery backup for power outages or period of no sun. All excess power generated by the solar panels is able to be returned to the grid (should this be available in your area).

This is a very good question. The simple answer is yes. However, it will take a proper calculation and a bigger investment to do so as you would need to have more power than is needed. While it is possible to scale your system, word has it that Eskom will still require a small monthly ''connection fee'. But in reality, you will be completely off the grid - meaning totally independent of Eskom's power.

Several aspects will need to be evaluated to determine if your home is a good solar site, such as orientation, space available, shadows on the space available and your current electricity usage. The best site will be one with adequate north-facing roofs that have no shade. Variations on that will cut into the productivity of the system.

The life of Solar modules that have been tested in the field showing small reductions in power output after 20 years, mostly because the glass surface becomes a bit dull and reflects more light. All our solar panels carry an output warranty of 25 years. There are solar panels delivering power in Australia today that were installed more than 30 years ago. The electronic components such as inverters, being the most sensitive, will last 10 -15 years.

Depending on equipment being fitted, and this depends on the size system you select, the different manufactures' warranties differ slightly, but this should give you an idea:

  • Solar Panels: minimum 10 year product warranty and 25 year performance guarantee
  • Inverter: 5 – 10 year warranty
  • Mounting System: 10-year product warranty (manufacturer)
  • Batteries: Lifespan depends upon usage, but is usually 5 - 8 years
  • Workmanship: 5 year warranty on workmanship (installer)

Between monocrystalline and polycrystalline there isn’t a lot of difference. However, a polycrystalline panel is slightly larger than the equivalent wattage in monocrystalline. Thin film panels are larger again. That extra space can take up valuable rooftop real estate in terms of adding extra panels at a later date. There are other issues to consider with thin film panels.

Monocrystalline panels are the more popular as selected by most installers and companies recommend them. Thin film mainly has a different use, and is less efficient.

Most insurers will allow you to include the system under your home and contents insurance, but please check with your insurance company first.

What happens on cloudy days?

What does a typical home solar power system consist of?

The heart of a photovoltaic solar power system is the solar array. Made up of multiple panels (individually measuring roughly 1 by 1.5 meters), this array absorbs the energy of a specific range of available sunlight and converts this energy into electrical energy.

The array mounts on a frame that allows the panels to be secure with minimal interference with the waterproofing and structure of the roof. Most importantly it provides the correct aspect and elevation for the array so as that the maximum amount of available sunlight in received and converted.

A cable runs down from the array to the inverter. The inverter is a device that efficiently converts the widely fluctuating power from the solar array into a predictable and usable energy feed.

A second cable connects the inverter to your house’s switchboard, which is in turn connects to the main power grid. This creates a continuous and dynamic system for the contribution of solar energy to your house. The inverter also acts as a simple data logger. An information screen on the inverter will display total energy production, daily energy production, and instantaneous power. These figures will fluctuate depending on the time of year, the cloud cover, and temperature, and will allow you to keep a record of your system’s performance.

Solar power systems can also optionally include easy-to-use remote monitors, internet enabled data loggers, and even sensors to determine solar availability, panel temperature, air temperature, and wind speed. Ask your sales representative for more information.

Is there any maintenance?

With an grid connected system, there is very little maintenance. Electronic components should be maintenance free. Energy Matters systems come with complete instructions for maintenance.

Where do you place the inverter?

Usually the inverter goes alongside the fuse box. The inverter is silent and has a display to show the electricity generated and other data options such as total electricity generated since installation, are available.

What is the difference between solar power and solar hot water?

Solar panels take light from the sun and make electricity. Solar hot water systems take heat from the sun and heat water. It is easy to remember:

- Heat from the sun heats the water.
- Light from the sun turns on the lights.

How much roof space do you need?

1.0 kW system needs approximately 10m2, a 1.5KW system needs approximately 15m2 and so forth.

What is the weight of the solar system on the roof?

The system weighs approximately 27 kilograms per square meter (a 1KW system is approximately 10 square meters).

Solar energy is clean. After the solar technology equipment is constructed and put in place, solar energy does not need fuel to work. It also does not emit greenhouse gases or toxic materials. Using solar energy can drastically reduce the impact we have on the environment.

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