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Why go solar?

Solar lets you generate your own electricity, cleanly and efficiently.

It’s an environmentally friendly, dependable way to generate power, without the use of coal or other fossil fuels. Solar modules are extremely reliable, because they have no moving parts. They are self-cleaning, easy to install and require very little, if any, maintenance.

How to choose the right solar system?

Orientation: Consider the orientation, the compass direction your solar panels will face. Ideally panels should be mounted on a south-facing roof for maximum sun exposure and maximum efficiency. Southeast and southwest orientations are also possible, but efficiency is lost with placement at other compass points.

Angle:The optimum position and angle for installing solar panels are where they will receive the most direct sunlight to produce the most electricity over the course of a year.  What is the perfect angle for my location and my roof?   How exact can I make my installation, so my system will generate the most energy?  Contact a PrimeSolar agent to meet with one of our expert engineers, who will recommend what is ideal for you.

Shading: Solar (photovoltaic) panels should receive full, daily, direct sun from at least 9am to 3pm. They should not be placed in areas shaded by trees or objects like roof ventilators or antennas; these change the flow of electricity through the panels and will impact their output. Panels should be kept free from dust and dirt, which will also reduce their efficiency.

Mounting: The mounting component is a vital part of the complete solar energy system, and should be engineer certified for the area and conditions where it’s installed. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area, the mounting system and mounting brackets should be cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified to withstand storms and certain wind speeds. Do not skimp on this critical element. Be aware of warranty coverage and be sure to receive copies of all relevant documents.

What types of solar systems are there?

The two main types of solar power systems are grid connect and off-grid (stand alone/remote power).

A grid connect system: A grid connect installation ensures you have the electricity you need, whenever you need it – automatically, regardless of weather conditions. It keeps you connected to the electricity grid at all times, including at night when solar generated electricity production is not possible. Most people installing solar electricity systems in their homes invest in grid connect systems.

The solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electrical energy via an inverter, which converts the DC power into 240V alternating current (AC) ready to be used in your home–or fed back into the grid.

Whenever the system produces more power than is being used, the surplus is fed into the main grid; depending on your electricity provider and location, you could be paid a premium for every kilowatt hour of electricity your solar system feeds into the grid. When your solar system isn’t producing energy (at night, for example) the electricity is supplied by the power grid, as usual. (A meter records both the energy sent to the grid from your solar system as well as the energy consumed by you from the grid).

An off-grid system: This type of system is completely separated from the grid.  It is more expensive as it utilizes a battery bank to store electricity generated by the solar panels. Off-grid installations are most common in rural areas where no grid is available or connection to the grid is too expensive. These systems supply solar generated electricity through an inverter to a charge controller, which regulates the charging of batteries for energy storage and use in appliances and other household applications. The solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electrical energy which flows via the regulator; the regulator prevents the batteries from overcharging.  A control board controls DC and AC power and houses the switching and circuit protection devices. The inverter changes the battery DC power into 240V alternating current (AC) ready for use. The battery bank collects the energy generated during daylight hours and stores it until you need to use it (battery banks can be installed either inside the house or in an external battery shed). A generator may be used as backup system in cloudy or low wind conditions.

What size solar system do you need?

The size of system you install depends on your roof top size or overall property size, your electricity needs and consumption and your budget.

In all cases, any solar power system will reduce your yearly power consumption and your electricity bill. And the bigger the system, the larger the benefit. The output of a solar system depends on its rated capacity and how and where it’s installed.

For example:  a 5 kW system could supply the energy consumption for an average household with medium energy usage.

A 2kW system may be suitable for a small home with smaller energy needs: 1-2 people; standard refrigerator; energy efficient lights (fewer than 10 total); LCD TV; standby appliances; washing machine (1 load a week); dishwasher (2 loads a week).

A 3kW system may be considered for a medium size household: 2-3 people; standard refrigerator; downlights (10-20); LCD TV; standby appliances; washing machine (3-5 loads a week); dishwasher (up to 5 loads a week); computer; small air conditioner.

5kW System may be recommended for a large home with larger energy requirements: 4+ people; standard regrigerator; halogen lights (20+); plasma and multiple TVs; standby appliances; washing machine (5+ loads a week); dishwasher (5+ loads a week); clothes dryer (5+ loads a week); computer; large or multiple air conditioners; pool pump.