FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We’ve created an easy to follow video that will guide you through this very process. Please CLICK HERE to view it. 

We’ve also created the below step-by-step guide, downloadable here.

 

Lead acid batteries have a limited lifespan of about 350 full cycles, i.e. from 100% down to 0%. For this reason, we limit the depth of discharge to 50% when installing lead acid batteries as this increases the number of cycles to about 700.
Lithium ion batteries can be cycled to 0% over 3000 times, giving a much longer lifespan. This is increased to 6000 cycles if we cycle down to 10%.
The lifespan of a typical lead acid battery in residential application is very seldom longer than 5 years. Lithium ion batteries should last at least 15 years and probably more. Lithium ion batteries have a higher energy density, which means they take up less space for the same amount of power, and are smaller and lighter than the equivalent power lead acid battery. In addition, Lithium ion batteries are supplied with an intelligent battery management system (BMS), which helps to maximise the utility, efficiency and lifespan of the battery.

In an effort to make SSEG approvals faster and safer, from October 2023 all solar and backup system applications for the City of Cape Town will be treated as grid-tied systems. This means that all systems need a City-approved inverter and professional sign off.

All inverters we install are on the City list of approved inverters. We have partnered with Professional Engineering company, Offrian (offrian.com) to inspect and sign off our systems to comply with the City of Cape Town regulations.

As part of our consultative process, we would advise you on a suitably sized solution. However, as a rough guide you can select a system based on your monthly electricity consumption according to the following: 350kWh/month – Newfield Flex Solar Assist. 400-700kWh/month – Newfield Flex Off Grid. As solar energy varies according to the season, your system may produce less or more than you require depending on the month. We can assist you in optimising your system.

Maybe someday. But our advice is to switch over in stages. Start with a solution that covers most of your daytime energy needs, then after observing your energy usage we can discuss adding panels and batteries to reduce your dependence on traditional power suppliers even more. Typically, the last 20-30% of your electricity needs are the most expensive to switch over. We are confident though that should you eventually decide to go off-grid completely, we can get you there and at the best price.

With the right maintenance, we expect an installation to last more than 15 – 25 years.

 Any savings made by waiting will in all likelihood be outweighed by other future price increases, such as the increase in labor, and cost of traditional electricity suppliers. By investing now, you start saving on your monthly electricity bill immediately! 

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels produce electricity by using photons from the sun to release electrons in the silicon crystals to produce direct current (DC).

A residential solar power system consists of: Solar panels: Several solar panels connected in parallel and/or series provide higher power outputs for the system. Home inverter: An inverter converts the direct current (DC) from the solar panels into alternating current (AC), which more appliances use. The inverter can also charge batteries. Solar storage batteries: Electricity generated from the solar panels can be stored within the solar storage batteries for later use.

Grid-Tied Solar Power System: A grid connected solar system is connected to the municipal grid and runs off sunlight without storage batteries. When there is excess solar power it can feed this back to the municipal grid for credit where allowed. When there is no sunlight the system will use municipal power.

Off-Grid Solar Power System: This system is designed to work off the grid I.e. with no external electricity supplier.  This type of system works best if it includes batteries to store electrical energy to use when there is no direct sunlight to power the solar panels. These systems can also be used if there is a grid connection available, but they are unable to feed power back to the grid.

Hybrid Solar Systems: A hybrid solar system is a combination of grid-tied and off-grid. It has the ability to feed power back to the grid, but includes batteries and so can provide power when the municipal grid is unavailable.

There are two types of solar panels for home use:

Mono-crystalline Solar Panels

The silicon wafers on the solar panel are made from a large crystal of silicon, mono-crystalline solar panels efficiently absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. Because of this efficiency, these solar panels are preferred in lower light conditions than other solar panels.

Poly-crystalline Solar Panels

Poly-crystalline solar panel wafers are made up of several smaller silicon crystals and are slightly less efficient than mono-crystalline solar panels but also less expensive.

In some cases it may not be possible to install solar panels on your roof. This could be due to obstructions on the roof e.g. chimneys, vents, etc., the roof’s integrity, excessive  shading, angle to the sun, or other structural factors. If your roof isn’t a good fit for solar, you may be able to install a ground-mounted system.  For a ground-mounted system, you’ll need to have access to a clearing far away from trees and other objects that cast shadows. Most ground-mounted systems are composed of aluminium racking and are mounted on concrete bases.

Solar is the perfect partner for battery storage. A properly sized and configured solar system will re-charge your batteries daily, providing the power to keep your battery fully charged and ready for use when needed, e.g at night or during a power outage.

Lithium-ion batteries are more energy dense than lead acid batteries. This means that they are smaller in size for an equivalent capacity. Generally, they can be wall mounted or installed in cabinets. A single 5,75kWh wall mount battery is about 375mm high x 465mm wide and 145mm deep – about the same size as a 5kW inverter. They should be stored indoors unless installed in a weatherproof cabinet.

We recommend that you inform your insurance of your solar system including all components. It should not significantly alter your premiums.

In South Africa, the ideal roof orientation is north, but panels can face north east or north west, with a slight reduction in power generation. Within this range, power output stays within 10 or 15 percent of maximum. Easterly and westerly roof installations are viable – if both can be used for one installation power will be supplied by the east facing set in the morning and the west in the afternoon. A flat roof that is due east or due west still achieves 77% of a system’s potential performance.

The build-up of dust and grime can affect the performance of solar panels, however panels have a non-stick coating which means rainfall easily cleans the surface. in rainy season it is almost never necessary to clean the panels. In the dry season a rinse off with water with perhaps a light brushing is more than sufficient if the panels are dirty. It is important not to use any abrasive or chemical cleaners as they can damage the surface coating.