Understanding Alternative Energy Sources – Cape Business News
ACCORDING to SOLARWORLD Africa Managing Director Gregor Kuepper, there has been a marked uptake of renewable energy solutions following the recent episode of Phase 6 load shedding. businesses or those that had sufficient space to house enough panels to support the electricity consumption. Fortunately, homes and small businesses now have several options to provide temporary power outage assistance, and potentially, long-term relief as a preferred continuous power source.
Kupper explains the different solutions:
Solution 1 – Grid Tied Photovoltaic (PV) System
A solar photovoltaic system (PV system) consists of two main components – PV panels (DC power supply) and a grid-tied PV inverter (DC to AC).
What is meant by “network related”? The inverter synchronizes the output frequency and voltage with its connected grid. If solar power is insufficient, a grid-connected photovoltaic inverter switches over and starts drawing power from the grid into your home. It guarantees a continuous power supply.
“This option saves electricity in the long term, no backup is needed. Pure PV inverters are grid tied, this means they need the grid to turn on and convert direct current (PV) to alternating current which is required by the appliances in your home.
Solution 2 – On-Grid with backup
2.1 PV and battery backup
“As for PV and battery, this can be provided by a hybrid inverter (i.e. PV and battery) or by a separate battery and PV inverter. Your batteries act as backup power when the grid fails, such as during load shedding or a blackout. During a normal day, PV can power a home and charge those batteries. This stored energy can then be used overnight.
2.2 Backup Battery
This is purely a backup solution and typically sized to ensure your essential loads are operational during load shedding/power failure. Under the pure battery backup banner, you also have various options. Like an inverter, a battery with a charge controller, then of course a battery and a battery inverter. Among these, a battery with a good and reliable battery inverter is the most reliable solution.
2.3 Battery and hybrid inverter
It is the same as the battery and battery inverter option, except the consumer has the option of installing PV panels later and does not have to add the extra cost of a PV inverter because they would be ready for the PV.
Solution 3 – Off Grid
You would need a photovoltaic generator large enough to meet your daily loads and charge the batteries for nighttime use. And in turn, a battery bank large enough to serve the loads during the evenings and possibly during the day when there is not enough PV generation. There is of course the possibility of adding a generator or using the network as a backup.
Kuepper says a bespoke approach will see various renewable energy solutions and products recommended and made available. “Consult the experts, evaluate the options and also find a solution that not only meets your electricity consumption needs, but is also financially viable – and always consider the long-term benefits, as some products are designed to go further away.”
For more information visit: www.solarworld.co.za