Frequently asked questions

1 – How does solar power work?

Solar power works by converting energy from the sun into electricity using solar panels. The panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter is then used to convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the type of electricity used in homes and businesses. 

2 – Is solar power reliable?

Solar power is a reliable source of energy as long as the solar panels are properly installed and maintained. The availability of sunlight can vary depending on location and weather conditions, but modern solar power systems include battery storage so that electricity can still be generated and stored even when the sun is not shining.

3 – How much does it cost to install solar power?

The cost of installing solar power can vary depending on the size of the system. Some people prefer to start with a smaller system or even a back up system for as little as R 10 000 with the idea to upgrade later. Other's prefer to go completely off grid and be self reliant and those systems can be around R 180 000.

4 – How long does a solar system last?

Solar systems are built to last for a long time. All the equipment we sell come with supplier warranties. They are as follows:

  • Solar Panels: 10/12 years on the product. 25 years on energy output.
  • Inverters: 5 years. Some are extendable up to 20 years.
  • Gel Batteries: 2/3 years.
  • Lithium batteries: Most are 10 years. Some are 5 years.
  • Workmanship: 2 years

All the equipment we sell are known brand, Tier 1 rated, that we have meticulously tested and selected for durability and quality. The lifespans are as follows:

Solar Panels: Guaranteed to give you 80% of initial energy output (name plate) after 25 years. They will last longer than that.

Inverters: Inverters have a design life of 10+ years. If you have the appropriate surge protection, breakers, cabling and earthing done it does also extend the system life. We include these as standard on our installations.

Lithium batteries: A good lithium battery has 6000 cycles. That's the number of times the battery can be charged up and discharged. So if you cycle your battery bank once per day it would give you 16 years of life.

Gel Batteries: We don't deal in a lot of gel batteries anymore. But a typical gel battery would have between 600 and 1800 cycles. This means you can expect between 1.5 and 5 years of service life from a gel battery.

5 – Do solar panels need a lot of maintenance?

Solar panels require very little maintenance. They should be cleaned occasionally to remove any dust or debris, but otherwise, they can be left to do their job.

6 – Can solar power be used to power an entire home?

Yes, solar power can be used to power an entire home. The size of the solar power system will need to be larger than if it were only being used to power a portion of the home.

7 – Can solar power work in cold climates?

Yes, solar power can work in cold climates. In fact, cold temperatures can actually increase the efficiency of solar panels. However, it's important to make sure that the solar panels are installed in a way that allows them to be cleared of snow, so they can still capture sunlight.

8 – Can you finance a solar energy system?

You definitely can because let's face it, solar is expensive but it has become a bit of a necessity. The upside is that you start saving money on your electricity bills immediately when you install your solar system. And it only keeps getting better when the yearly Eskom and Municipal rate increases come into play.

There are 2 ways to finance your solar system. The first is to do a rent to own option where you basically rent the system for a period and then pay one additional installment and the system becomes yours. Our finance partners handle the whole application process on your behalf and submit the application to 16 different financial institutions to get the best deal they can for you.

The second option is to do a bond extension on your existing home loan. This makes sense because your monthly repayment is lower and the solar system is an add on as well as a value add to your house. If you want to sell your home in future it just adds to the appeal for new buyers.

9 – How do you size/design a solar power system?

We need some basic information from you to be able to design a solar system:

Solar panel bank: How much energy do you use on average per month (kWh per month or Rand per month)? You can get this info from your electricity bills. The more energy you use per month the bigger the solar panel bank has to be to supply you with the same amount of energy that you would have gotten from the grid. E.g. 1 x 455 watt solar panel would generate about 70 kWh per month.

Inverter: What loads (appliances, lights, equipment, etc) do you want to run on the system? Do you have any 3 phase equipment (pumps, aircons, machinery, etc) running?
The more loads you want to run the bigger the inverter capacity has to be. If you just want to run basic loads (light, TV, Fridges, Internet, kitchen appliances, etc) the entry level inverter we recommend is a 5kVa machine. If you want to run elements (geyser, stove, heaters, etc) from the inverter it has to be sized even bigger (8 to 16 kVa).
In case you have 3 phase equipment you can either leave it on the grid or run it using a 3 phase inverter configuration.

Battery bank: What loads do you usually run at night? What do you want to be able to have running when there is load shedding/power outages?
The lithium battery bank size is determined by your night load and/or energy requirements during load shedding. The more energy you use the bigger the battery bank has to be.