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Frequently asked questions

Will I be able to go fully off-grid?
Your business will still be connected to the electricity grid, but whenever the sun is shining or you have energy stored, you will only be using your own solar power. During power outages or load shedding, you will be self-sufficient for hours and won’t need to fall-back on a polluting, noisy diesel generator.
Why do we need location data to make a solar plan?
Your specific geographical location contributes considerably towards solar irradiation and is important to know when designing a solar energy system. Solar irradiation is the amount of energy emitted from the sun onto the surface of the earth and it varies across latitudes. South Africa is one of the countries with the highest solar irradiation levels in the world. Optimal solar panel placement increases the efficiency of the solar energy system which allows for more energy to be absorbed and higher energy yield. Have a look at the map to see the irradiation levels of your location. Red means high, green means (relatively) low.
What does a complete solar system consist of?
Your own solar energy system consists mainly of three components:
  • Solar Panels mounted onto a roof or structure generates electricity when exposed to sunlight.
  • From the solar panels, electricity flows into the inverter. This component will convert DC (direct current) power to AC (alternating current) power. An inverter ensures the quality and safety of the power coming out of your solar energy system and optimises the different conditions to maximise the amount of energy generated.
  • If your solar panels generate more energy than you are using at that moment, the remaining energy stores in a battery (if desired).
How do I know if my roof is suitable for solar panels?
All roofs are different in structure, size and orientation. Ideally, the orientation of the solar panels placement in the Southern Hemisphere will need to face a Northerly direction to receive optimal energy, though if the roof structure does not allow for optimal placement of the solar panels then there are other options which are considered for the loss of efficiency, for example adding a roof mount or extra solar panels. Your roof also needs to be free from shade from trees, mountains or other buildings. Most roof structures are stable and reliable for solar installations. A structural engineer will have to look at the roof to ensure it is suitable for installment.
What is the average kWh of a solar panel?
Soly mainly makes use of Jinko Solar Panels (visit product page). One panel has the capacity of 350WP (watt-peak). The average kWh (kilowatt per hour) will vary between the seasons of high and low sun peak. However, let’s say on a good day, you average 8 hours of sunlight. Multiply that by 350 watts from a solar panel =  2800 watts or roughly 3 kWh per panel per day.
How many solar panels are needed to provide sufficient electricity for my property of business?
The number of panels installed is based upon factors such as; the structure and size of the roof or mounting system, the required amount of energy, and the orientation and location of the roof. Each roof is unique regarding these factors mentioned, therefore, the number of panels will vary. Solar panels come in wattages ranging between 150 watts to 370 watts per panel. (See Average kWh solar panels.). The number of solar panels is not an accurate determination of how much energy a roof can obtain, but rather the amount of wattage of each panel and the required energy consumption.
What are the environmental benefits of solar?
Solar energy provides significant environmental benefits when compared to traditional fossil fueled power stations, such as coal. Coal is detrimental to the environment and releases toxic substances into our air and water, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and mercury. However, solar energy is produced purely from the sun resulting in no CO2 emissions. It has a domino effect that reduces the reliance on coal, which reduces our carbon footprint and helps mitigate climate change. Solar energy also saves thousands of litres of water as opposed to conventional power stations’ high water usage.
What happens to solar panels once they reach their lifespan?
Solar panels may either be reused or recycled. If reusing is not an option, then making use of the parts is the next step. The materials themselves, such as aluminium, or glass are valuable and will remain recyclable. The goal of renewable energy is to remain as sustainable as possible with little to no waste.
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