PV Solar Systems
1. Protect against rising energy costs
2. Become environmentally friendly
3. Investment in your property
4. Save money on your bills
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Rapidly falling prices have made solar more affordable than ever. Solar photovoltaic systems use PV modules to convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity generated can be either stored, used directly or fed back into grid. Solar PV systems are very reliable and a clean source of electricity that can suit a wide range of applications such as home, business or factory. We install all solar systems from big solar systems to small solar systems, single phase and 3 phase systems, off grid and grid tie systems.
Quality Mounting Systems
Ground and Pole Mount Systems
Tile, IBR, Cliplock systems
Solar Carport Systems
We stock all mounting systems for your solar system at the best prices. All our mounting systems are light weight aluminium profiles that will last as long as your solar panels
Premium Solar Panels
Reliability with 25 Year output warranty
Low maintenance, no moving parts
Reduce your electricity bills
High quality Grade A solar panels. Full frame thickness for maximum strength. All our panels have a 10 year workmanship warrenty and a 80% output warenty after 25 years
High Efficiency Inverters
We supply and install all popular brands
Grid Tie inverters and off-grid inverters
Outdoor and indoor inverters
Our most popular residential solar inverter is the axpert 5kVA solar inverter. A completely automated and hassle free solar inverter. Intelligent chooses between solar, battery and bypass while supplying continuous uninterrupted power to your home.
Lead Acid to Lead Crystal
Solar batteries with high cycle life
Batteries ranging from 1 year up to 3 year warrenties
Premium Lead Crystal batteries with 10 year life expectancy
Solar Cape will install your batteries. Lead Crystal batteries are specifically designed for solar systems with a 3 year warranty and up to 10 year life expectancy. We also stock all other batteries
Guide to PV Systems
Types of Solar Panels
The different types of panels can be split into the different output voltages. A small 12 volt battery needs an 18v solar panel to charge it. A 24 volt battery requires a 36 volt solar panel to charge it. However larger systems for residential solar and commercial application require a specific voltage from 100v to 1000 volt depending on the charger. On larger systems panels are joined together called a string until the correct voltage is achieved. An example would be a typical axpert inverter or pip inverter system which will have a configuration of 3, 6, 9 or 12 panels.
Solar Array Sizing
If the purpose of installing solar is to save on electricity usage then there is no minimum array size. The amount of panels installed will save energy proportionally to the energy generated. For off-grid the array size will need to be big enough to cover all the electricity used per day plus extra to cover losses. To determine the solar array size the amount of solar radiation in your area would need to be established. In cape town the summer radiation would be almost 9 kWh electricity generated per day from each 1 kWh of PV panels installed on your roof. In winter that figure drops to 4 kWh electricity generated from each 1 kWh of solar panels installed.
Types of Solar Inverters
There are two categories of inverters. One is called a grid tie inverter. This type of inverter synchronizes with the utility supply and feeds energy into the electrical system. If energy generated by the inverter is less than the total load, then the inverter will supply as much power as possible with the rest being supplied by the utility. When the inverter supplies more than the total load, then the excess energy feeds back through the electricity meter to the utility.
Grid tie inverter sizing
Grid tie inverter sizing is not critical. Too small or too big makes the difference between paying in or paying out. When feeding back to the utility, an application is sent to the local council. The meter is then changed to allow feedback into the grid. Careful as some electricity meters will charge you for electricity both ways and you end up paying for the electricity you produce. The solution for this is called a grid tie limiter. Grid tie is a great way to install solar and save money.
Off grid inverter sizing
Size does count. Go too small and you could end up tripping your inverter. Fortunately off grid technology is much more affordable than grid tie. The reason for installing an off-grid inverter would be for its lower initial cost and the battery backup power it provides
Combination inverter sizing
The combination inverters can provide the best of both. Packed with technology they are costly. Care should be taken to make sure that the inverter can do both functions simultaneously and that one function is not lost when the other is chosen. These are the best of the best.
There are many different types of batteries on the markets. Many of which are marketed as solar batteries where in fact there are very few genuine solar batteries. Batteries performance is measured in cycles with some deep cycle batteries producing only 200 full cycles and others producing up to 1500 full cycles. Lead crystal batteries will provide 3600 cycles at 40% depth of discharge, 10 years. Batteries which do not have a graph showing its cycle life are not meant to be used in solar applications. These are automotive batteries.
Each inverter will have a minimum amount of batteries required to meet its voltage type. Typical inverter battery voltages are 12, 24 and 48 volts. For a 48 volt solar inverter, batteries have to be added in groups of 4 to make up 48 volts. However you can add as many batteries as required in groups of 4. For a completely off grid system, the battery bank should be sized at least double your daily consumption. This will result in your batteries discharging no more than 50% once a day. Batteries that are cycled too deep have a reduced life span, Batteries that are not used at all will also fail due to insulation build up on the plates. The optimum is cycling at 50% depth of discharge and provides the greatest return on investment.
What are the costs
The costs will be relative to the size. Many systems are completely scaleable. A small basic system can be installed and expanded over time by adding more panels, adding more inverters and adding more batteries to improve power output and increase your savings.
How reliable is the system
With grid tie, the important point to remember is that you are still completely reliant on the utility. Without a utility supply, the inverters cannot synchronize and will remain off until the supply is restored. An off grid inverter can use the batteries and solar for backup. The switching from solar to batteries to utility is extremely fast and happens completely automatically, ensuring that you never run out of power.
Warranties on inverters range from 2 years to 10 years. Some have a warranty extension option up to 25 years.
Installation should be done by qualified and certified electricians.
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