Your Questions on Solar Answered

Thanks to Roan from https://www.xlbengineering.co.za/ for the article, clearing up some misleading information on investing in Solar for your home.

1. What are the benefits of solar power?

Most domestic solar power systems will be installed with Hybrid Inverters and batteries. If this is the case, you will get UPS like functionality, affording you some power security. i.e. No-Load Shedding blues!

2. How long does it take to implement solar panels within your home?

Once your installer has performed a site visit to check that your roof surfaces are okay (structurally sound and not badly shaded), the process should take around 4 weeks.

3. In terms of going green, how does solar power compare to traditional light sources

Our Eskom power in SA is among the ‘dirtiest’ in the world. Most of Eskom’s generation capacity comes from coal fired power stations which were built in the 60’s, the emissions are terrible. If you do install some solar power, you will be helping, albeit in a small way.

4. In terms of aesthetics, how do solar power panels fit in with modern home design?

The most economical solar panels have aluminium frames and aren’t exactly works of art! If you work with a good architect and installer, you can in most cases ‘hide” them or even use frameless solar panels which are far more attractive.

5. What are popular myths about solar power that you would like to debunk?

i) It’s expensive – incorrect! When analyzing the total cost of ownership over the design life of an installation, you will see that the payback period is relatively small. An installation may have a big ticket attached but when bench marking against an ever-escalating Eskom cost, it regains perspective.
ii) It will hurt my pocket – incorrect! The commercial banks are funding solar at fair rates and there are also extremely competitive crowd funded and private equity funded options available to both individuals and companies. On a commercial scale, your loan payments (assuming a 7-year term) are usually less than the saving realized on your Eskom bill. It’s a “no brainer” for the bean counters.
iii) “Going Solar” will provide electricity during load shedding – incorrect. You either need to add batteries or use your Solar panels to assist a petrol/diesel generator in order to get benefit from the panels in the absence of Grid (Eskom) power.
iv) “Lithium batteries are expensive” – incorrect! Yes, they are generally double to triple the price of Lead based batteries but again, when looking at their cost over life, you can’t beat them. There are some very economical “Second Life” lithium batteries which are around 30% less expensive than the new equivalents, they are becoming very popular in the marketplace.

6. How can people start the process of making their home a solar powered home TODAY?

Contact one of your local installers for site assessment and quote. You will probably be surprised at how affordable it is becoming to “Go Green” and help the environment and your pocket at the same time.
Developing sustainable products. Industrial design. Automotive. XLB Engineering