FAQ Solar Systems
What is Essential and Non Essential loads?
Essential loads are lights, TV, Wi-Fi, alarm, electric fence, CCTV, cell phone chargers, computers, newer fridges, etc.
Non-Essential loads are electric geysers, stoves, underfloor heating, large machinery, older fridges etc. basically anything that has large start up currents and consumes a lot of power.
How does the solar panels supply my loads during the day?
During the day when the sun is shining, the solar panels will generate electricity that is used by the loads in your house. If the system is correctly sized you should be able to shift all or most of your daytime loads to solar and use no power from the grid.
How does the battery bank supplement my evening loads?
The Victron ESS functionality allows you to set the SOC (State of Charge) to a certain percentage typically between 60-90%. This means that when the battery is fully charged it will use the top 30-40% of the battery as configured to aid self-consumption by supplying loads when it is overcast, at night or when additional peak power is required. The rest is kept to power your essential loads in case of a power failure.
What happens when a power failure occurs?
All non-essential loads will automatically be disconnected by the system and only the essential loads will be supplied from the battery. This is an automatic process with no user intervention. With a Victron system there is a secondary programmable AC output that could be used to power Non-Essential loads during the day when there is excess energy and when a power failure occurs an internal relay will automatically disconnect these loads so it does not drain the battery.
How long will my battery last in case of load shedding?
The LiFePo4 battery technology we use can be discharged up to 90% in the event of a power failure. Thus depending on the size of the battery bank and the amount of power your essential loads consume you will be able to calculate the number of hours the battery will last. Let’s look at an example, if you have a 4.8kWh battery bank you will have ~4300Wh of battery capacity available to supply to your essential loads (4800*0.9). If your essential loads consume 500Wh, you will be able to supply your essential loads for up to ~8 hours. ( As per standard testing conditions @ 25°C).
Will I save money?
Yes, however the amount you will save depends on the size of the system installed and the design optimised for your particular use case. With our professional software we can fairly accurately predict what the solar panels on your roof will produce on average over a 12 month period, how much of that energy you consume depends on your daytime consumption and the size of the battery storage available.
How will I know if my system is working properly?
All our systems comes with free cloud and mobile phone monitoring applications, this allow for real time and historical performance monitoring.
What is the expected lifetime of such a system and what is the warranty?
With a proper installation according to SAPVIA guidelines and annual maintenance, the system will last 15-25 Years. The battery should be replaced after 10-12 years as capacity will start to reduce.
• Inverter All Victron/Deye comes with a 5 Year warranty (Can be extended to 10 years at an additional cost of 10%)
• Solar panels 25 Year Linear output of 80% and 12 years on the frame.
• Batteries 10-year warranty.
• Workmanship 2 Years, can be extended with an annual maintenance contract.
• Other electrical equipment, switchgear, and protection typically 1 Year warranty.
How do I ensure my installation is legal and adhere to the new regulations that will be rolled out in the near future?
To ensure you don’t get fined or disconnected from the grid completely due to an illegal installation in the future, it is advisable to use an accredited PV Greencard installer. This platform gives the consumer peace of mind to red flag an installer with recourse if the installation does not comply. Insurance companies and financial institutions are already requiring this before allowing loans or insurance on systems. For more information have a look at https://ugotpower.co.za/pvgreencard/
Using Grid-parallel topology to optimize self consumption.
The Victron ESS system is a grid parallel system that prioritizes self-consumption. The system charges the batteries and supplement or completely supply daytime loads directly from the solar panels when the sun is shining. When it is limited or no sun available a pre-determined percentage of the battery bank is used to supplement or completely supply the loads. When there is no or insufficient sun available to supply the loads and the battery bank reaches the predetermined battery percentage the system will supply the loads directly from the grid. The predetermined battery capacity is kept to supply essential loads in case of a power failure. Not all inverters have this feature so choose wisely.
Why do we prefer these specific inverters over others?
We don’t do cheap!!! Our installations are our pride and joy and hence we design, supply, and install systems that will last 15+ years. Our brands have a proven track record, specific warranties, and local support. The Victron equipment is especially flexible and feature rich with their ESS system and programmable relays etc. to control and manage external equipment.
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