GRID TIED WITH NET METERING – NOT PRACTICAL IN SOUTH AFRICA
This option whilst possibly the most common arrangement in Europe, it is not
practical in SA because of the unreliability of the Eskom Grid for various
reasons, load shedding, cable theft, etc.
Because of the numerous faults and of course Load Shedding
the Eskom Grid often not available to provide power during the nighttime in
GRID TIED WITH BATTERIES AND NET METERING
(Where possible not available everywhere in South Africa)
Grid Tied with Batteries and Net Metering some times called Grid interactive is probably the most practical option available to South Africans. But it comes with the additional cost of having to install batteries.
With an intelligent inverter/controllers it is possible to generate power from PV panels and prioritize how that power is used.
Unfortunately Net Metering is not available everywhere is South Africa currently, due largely to the age of the Eskom infrastructure.
However in reality the current tariffs to sell power back to the Eskom grid is not very attractive in the domestic environment
- Use PV power to supple current load
- Use PV power to charge batteries.
- Feed PV power back to grid towards net metering credit. Sky Power are experienced in all of the above and will design the most appropriate system to suit your needs, your budget and your location. Skypower will wherever possible, provide you with a modular design that will protect your investment and enable you increase the capacity of your system as the need arises to cope with the changing situation in South Africa.
Designing a solar power system requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure optimal performance, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Here are the main considerations to keep in mind when designing a solar power system:
Can I go Off Grid? Not really no!
Going truly off grid in South Africa is possible but is not really practical or cost effective.
In order to be completely off grid means you will have to provide a power source for the low sun/ bad weather days and this ultimately means you will need a generator in addition to all of the other solar paraphernalia. You will need larger battery banks, a greater number of solar panels and possibly bigger inverters. This is usually only worth considering on larger commercial systems
What are my Options: Grid tied with Batteries
The most practical and cost effective design is to opt for a grid tied solution with batteries.
But in Europe many installations don’t use battery banks, I hear you say”.
This is because Europe has modern reliable grid with virtually 100% availability. This is not a luxury we have in South Africa.
In Europe for example one can use the grid for storage and feedback surplus power during the day time for credit called Net Metering and, effectively use the grid for storage as opposed to batteries at nighttime.
Years of neglect and poor management have brought us to the consequences of load shedding and the point of near grid collapse which is why we are having this discussion.
Thus in South Africa whilst Net Metering can be an option in certain of the newer suburbs of Cape Town for example, for most of the rest of the country Net Metering is not possible.
Reverse feeding the old analogue “spinning meters” can be done but it is illegal, not least because in doing so you effectively sell power back to the grid for the same price as you buy it. And that is not something the utility will want you to do.
This raises the next point that in reality the “feed in tariffs” for net metering are not attractive enough to make it financially viable.