Protect Production and Avoid Load Shedding with Grid-tie Solar Systems
Unlike self-contained systems, which are independent of the grid, grid-tie solar systems can draw power from the grid and upload excess solar energy. The concept of obtaining energy from sunlight is far from new. Since life on Earth first emerged, plants, algae, and some types of bacteria have utilised the sun’s rays for photosynthesis, using light’s energy and chlorophyll to catalyse glucose production as an energy source. Humans have also been harvesting the sun’s energy for various purposes since the 7th century BC. They have employed magnifying glasses, mirrors and even high-polished shields to focus light and set fire to everything from cooking fires and ceremonial torches to an enemy’s wooden ships.
Today, although many scouts and guides will probably have used a magnifying glass to start a campfire, science has found more sophisticated ways to benefit from solar energy. Possibly the most significant of these is the photovoltaic effect. In 1839, a French scientist named Edmond Becquerel discovered that the output from a simple electrolytic cell increased when exposed to light, a phenomenon he called the photovoltaic (PV) effect and the underlying principle of generating electricity with PV panels.
Applications for grid-tie solar systems
PV systems have rapidly gained favour with domestic and commercial users, who frequently wish to limit the impact of Eskom’s constantly increasing tariffs and avoid the inconvenience of load shedding. When installing PV panels, users have three options:
- Grid-tie: This type of system is recommended for home use but also holds numerous benefits for commercial users like factories, warehouses, manufacturing plants, shopping centres, office parks and other bulk electricity consumers.
Grid-tie solar systems offer several advantages. Firstly, they don’t require storage batteries as they use a solar inverter to connect directly to the grid.
In addition to reduced carbon emissions and costs, these installations include an option to enter into power purchase agreements (PPA) between a solar energy producer, which could be your business, and an electricity consumer, such as a commercial service provider. The agreement offers a potential source of income from a feed-in tariff, a bonus that could help further reduce a company’s energy bills. In addition, the PPA is an easily accessible and economical option to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals.
- Off-grid: These are the only eco-friendly PV systems suitable for owners of homes and farms in areas remote from the national power grid, who must usually rely on a generator for heating, lighting and powering equipment. On the downside, off-grid systems have more components, which makes them more expensive than the alternatives. On the other hand, because they are modular systems, they can be expanded as the user’s energy requirements grow.
- Hybrid systems: These are the ideal choice for those who want the best of both worlds. PV panels can only generate power during daylight hours. Hybrid PV systems employ batteries to provide access to green energy around the clock.
Most suppliers and installers of grid-tie solar systems will recommend including a battery backup option, as without one, using a grid-tied inverter means when the grid supply fails, so does a grid-tie solar system. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome this shortfall, where required, by retrofitting a suitable battery backup system and installing an AC-coupled control management system.
Partnering with SolarSkye for sustainable energy solutions
Our experienced installers conduct an on-site survey of each company to assess their power requirements and design the best hybrid or grid-tie solar systems to ensure they are fully met. Once the installation is approved, we will commission and monitor the system to ensure peak performance and arrange power purchase agreements. You can rent your system, pay in instalments, or purchase it outright.
The potential benefits to large-scale commercial consumers are substantial and could be yours on request. Just complete this online form to get started.