What is a grid connect solar power system?

Solar Grid Connect systems often located in built up areas, they create electricity from the PV panels through to an inverter then directly to the electricity grid. When power is supplied to the mains grid, the home owner usually receives a credit for that electricity.

What can affect the amount of solar energy received?

The strength of the solar energy (radiation) available depends on the time of year, the time of day, and the latitude of the generation point. The amount of energy generated can be further affected by the amount of dust and water vapor in the air, the amount of cloud cover and any shading of the solar panels.

Does roof orientation really matter?

Most certainly. For example, a system with solar panels facing in a easterly direction will generate far less than one with a southerly aspect.

What size system will I need to run my home?

That entirely depends on your energy usage and your geographical location. A 1.5 kW system is currently the “entry point” for grid connected systems, it will cover between 16 and 25% of the energy consumption of a medium household. A 3 to 4 kW system will cover 100% of the energy consumption of a medium energy use household.

Any size grid connect solar power system will reduce your yearly power consumption and your power bill. Naturally the bigger the system, the bigger the benefit.

To make the most of solar power, the key is to implement simple energy efficiency strategies. It is easy to conserve energy by using appropriate lighting and efficient appliances. Running high power appliances such as electric bar heaters, electric hot water systems and air conditioners etc. is really not economical.

Instead of considering a very large solar system it is advisable to invest in energy efficient heaters, solar hot water and design features such as strategically placed vents or insulation to avoid heat entering the house in the first place. In summary – all your energy can be supplied by solar power and your budget and daily energy usage will determine the size of your solar power system.

Is my building suitable for a solar power system?

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 south-facing roofs that have no shade. Variations on that will cut into the productivity of the system.

How long will my grid connect solar power system last?

Solar modules 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 PV modules carry an output warranty of 25 years. The electronic components such as inverters, being the most sensitive, will last 10 -15 years.

What type of warranty is supplied with the system?

  • Solar Panels: 20 – 25-year warranty to produce 80% of rated output (manufacturer)
  • Inverter: 5-year warranty. Can be extended to 10 years for an additional charge (manufacturer)
  • Mounting System: 10-year product warranty (manufacturer)
  • Workmanship: 12-month warranty on workmanship (installer)

Should I choose monocrystalline, thin film or polycrystalline solar panels?

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

If my energy requirements increase, can I upgrade the system?

Yes. Additional solar panels can be added at any time to increase generating capability but you might have to upgrade to a larger inverter. Alternatively you could purchase a larger inverter when installing the system initially and then plan to add some extra solar panels later.

How much of a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will I achieve?

Using a comparison to a car, the average vehicle travels 13 000 miles per annum, which is equivalent to 3.3 tons of carbon dioxide discharge annually. A 2kw grid connected system will prevent 3.3 tons of carbon dioxide being generated through coal fired power generation – so it’s the equivalent of taking a car off the road each year.