Photovoltaic panels are a way to reduce your Eskom bill by generating your own electricity. There are different ways to connect the panels and Municipalities have different tariffs when feeding back into the grid. In general the Government does not incentivise feeding back into the grid therefore the best system is the one that matches your demand. This provides you with the best return on investment.
Grid Tied Systems
When talking about grid tied systems we connect your Photovoltaic Panels to your main electricity supply. Your consumption will first be fed from the Photovoltaic production and only if you use more you will import electricity from the main grid. If you do not use your Photovoltaic production the system will export the excess electricity into the main grid.
Municipalities have different ways of refunding you for exported electricity. Some do Net-Metering, where you simply reverse your electricity meter, others request that you install Smart-Meter and they will pay you less for the electricity you export than what you have to pay when you import.
A Back-up system is a way to avoid load shedding. You store energy in batteries and use this energy when there is no power from the grid. The nice thing is that it kicks in instantly – so you won’t even know it is load shedding. However – you will have to decide what areas in your house you want to work during load shedding, i.e. your lights, your TV, Alarm, Microwave etc. Your selection will determine the price of your system. As more you have on your back-up, as more expensive the system becomes.
Back-up Systems can be installed with our without Photovoltaic. If it is installed without Photovoltaic, your batteries will be charged by the main grid when there is power and you use up what you have during load shedding. When installing a back-up system with Photovoltaic you can substantially extend your available capacity due to the production of the panels. You use what you produce, and what you need extra comes from the batteries.
A step further from that is then to connect your Photovoltaic Back-up system to the grid, where you export excess energy to the main grid if your batteries are full and you don’t use your production.