Solar Power Solutions
Various solar power design options are available to choose from, depending on your preferences andrequirements, including hybrid, grid-tied, bi-directional, and off-grid systems.
All these design systems have three major components – the battery, inverter, and solar PV modules (panels).
SOLAR PV Modules
Solar PV modules are the most visible portion of the solar power system, the panels that absorb the sunlight and convert it into electricity.
They differ widely according to size, quality, efficiency, and how much energy they can generate.
However, Osolar supplies exclusively premium-quality panels from proven manufacturers to ensure optimum reliability and efficiency.
The battery stores power for use when solar energy is not available, either due to a power failure or when it is consumed faster than it is generated. There are many kinds of batteries on the market that differ in quality, efficacy, longevity, and cost; we will happily advise you of the optimal battery for your particular solar power system and individual needs. The batteries most commonly used in solar power systems are lead-acid, AGM gel, and lithium-ion batteries. However, at Osolar, we choose only the most advanced battery technologies and management systems. We offer only lithium-ion phosphate battery technologies in conjunction with proven Battery Management Systems (BMS), where we can remotely manage aspects of discharge and maintenance 24-7.
The solar PV modules send the generated electricity to the inverter, which converts it from DC to AC power.
Three kinds of inverters are available, which vary according to size, output capacity, and functionality.
These are hybrid, grid-tied, and off-grid inverters.
Solar Power and Electricity Usage
When choosing a solar power system, it is important to consider the relationship between solar power generation and electricity usage. Power consumption typically peaks in the mornings and evenings, while solar energy generation is highest during the middle of the day. This can cause a disparity between solar power production and usage.
If more electricity is being drawn than produced, solar power will be used up instantly; therefore, the delicate balance between production, storage, and consumption will be disrupted. At Osolar, we understand the fundamental importance of designing bespoke solar power systems to maintain this balance and cater to individual client needs.
The most commonly used solar systems are hybrid systems, which generate solar energy that supplies power and charges the battery, with Eskom as an additional power source. These systems facilitate reduced electricity costs while still ensuring a steady power supply, even during power failures, due to the back-up battery. Hybrid systems are appropriate for use in small to medium-sized homes and micro-business settings.
A hybrid system works as follows:
- The solar PV modules (panels) absorb sunlight and convert it to DC power.
- The modules send this DC power to the inverter, while Eskom sends AC power to the inverter. Whether fed from Eskom, solar energy, or the battery, all power flows through the inverter.
The inverter has a charge controller and regulator that dictates whether Eskom or solar power charges the batteries. It converts the DC power generated by solar to AC power and discharges the batteries to supply needed electricity.
Hybrid inverters come in various sizes capable of accommodating different load capacities. It is possible to interconnect a series of hybrid inverters to increase load capacity.
An off-grid system is one that is entirely separate to the Eskom grid and relies solely on sustainable energy; therefore, property owners who choose off-grid systems are generally:
- Building on a remote property and, consequently, cannot afford of bringing in an Eskom connection.
- Making a conscious lifestyle choice and wish to pursue a greener agenda.
- Find that Eskom’s fixed monthly connection costs are excessive in comparison to power consumption.
Off-grid systems function in the following way:
- Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it to DC power.
- The modules send this DC power to the charge controller.
- The inverter then charges the batteries and converts the DC power into usable, stable 230-volt electricity for appliances, lighting, etc.
Off-grid systems produce virtually no power at night and very little on grey and rainy days; therefore, they require more solar panels and a greater number of batteries to ensure reliability, generate a continuous flow of electricity, and avoid power dips or outages. Running off-grid systems in conjunction with generators and/or using them to recharge batteries will reduce the need for larger panels and battery capacity, thus decreasing the initial capital outlay.
Grid-tied solar power systems are an economical and eco-friendly solution to cutting down electricity costs, hence making them a popular option. They are appropriate for use in medium to large domestic properties and all industrial and commercial settings. Grid-tied systems are the most popular solar power systems and offer the best return on investment.
Grid-tied systems are simple in design and work according to the following process.
The solar modules (panels) absorb sunlight and convert it into DC power, following which they send it to the inverter, which converts it into AC power and feeds it to the property’s electrical distribution board to be used onsite. Should excess solar energy be available that is not being absorbed by the load in the house, that can be fed back to the grid for credits on your municipal bill.
This creates a continuous supply of energy, with grid power and solar power utilised as needed. Grid-tied power will only be used if there is not enough solar power to meet the needs of the property. Consequently, the process is seamless and the occupants in the house are undisturbed by the switching between solar and grid power.
For example, if the solar power system is producing 80kW of power and electricity consumption is 100kW
- Solar power will supply 80kW, which will be used first.
- Grid power will supply the remaining 20kW.
If only 70kW of power is being used, however, only solar power will be used and no electricity taken from the grid. The surplus 10kW will be fed back into the grid.
Utilising Grid-Tied Systems in Your Home
You can expand grid-tied systems by adding more solar PV modules to produce more solar energy. This means these systems can generate unlimited power, hence making them suitable for properties of different sizes and power consumption requirements, from small homes to large commercial buildings and industrial plants.
You can build grid-tied systems into a premises in the design and construction phase, or add them at a later stage.
It is possibly to incorporate battery systems with grid-tied systems by using hybrid inverters to manage the charge and discharge of power from the batteries. Generally speaking, residential houses and new builds run on a single-phase, 230-volt, 63-Amp supply from the grid, although some older homes have a three-phase supply.
Grid-tied systems are available in Single Phase and Three Phase configurations. You can use them in conjunction with generators and Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPSs).
Technology advanced solutions are offered for on and of-the-grid applications, making use of the latest and best technologies available in the green Environment. Our services offered are designed to help clients to promote the dimensions of environmental sustainability and the total cost of ownership.