Solar Power Basics

Any Solar Power System will consist of at least a Solar Panel and a controller in some or other form.

Depending on the requirement, an Inverter and / or battery bank might also be included.

The Solar Panel collects energy from the sun, and passes it over to the controller or grid inverter. The controller / grid inverter manages the entire system - regulating the power loads, charge to the batteries, protecting batteries against over / under charge, overheating and over loading. The batteries stores the energy and makes it available for use, either directly (generally in 12v or 24v DC) or via an Inverter (120v / 220v AC).
The Inverter simply converts the battery power from 12v/24v DC to 120v/220v AC. It also applies some safety features to protect against overheating and over loading.

All these internal components also consume power within the system. Good quality components will minimize the internal system power consumption and thus making more power available for external use.

The advantages of solar energy.

Electricity produced on rooftops will soon be cheaper than conventional electricity from a socket in the wall. Solar energy is thus well on its way to becoming the key technology for renewed economic growth and is comparable to the steam engine, the car or computer in former times.
Solar energy does not depend on electricity grids and fuels. It is the ideal source for a largely private, local, ecological and just electricity supply which is available anywhere.

Why you should choose solar energy:

  • The sun will continue to shine for another 4 billion years and supply free solar energy in the process.
  • The amount of solar energy which reaches the earth exceeds daily requirements 10,000 to 15,000 times over.
  • The sun does not produce CO2 and thus preserves the environment on two levels.
  • A solar power system allows you to become self-sufficient and not be exposed to ever-increasing energy costs.
  • Solar electricity is the only energy which can be produced on a local basis worldwide.
  • The sun does not depend on large corporations.

Solar Irradiance.

Solar resources in South Africa are among the highest in the world.
Germany has the highest percentage of installed PV capacity in the world.
South Africa’s city with the lowest DNI is higher than the city in Germany with the highest DNI.
The highest DNI predicted in South Africa is now 3 200 kWh/m2 per annum in the Northern Cape.