What’s The Sitch With Solar Solutions?

From solar-powered fan caps (yeah, it’s a thing, Google it) to solar trees used to power a variety of objects, solar solutions come in many different shapes and sizes. They’re a much-debated source of renewable energy, but what is undeniable is that solar solutions for your home will save you money in the long-run.

As South Africans, it’s an undeniable fact that our power grid is under severe strain (and no one needs to say why – it is known). With the impending darkness looming over us once more, there is much to be said for the ability to have a hot bath or a lamp by which to appreciate the irony of a book entitled VanOps: The Lost Power.

It is also known that solar panels come with a hefty initial price tag attached, but consider just how much money you can save given that you’re generating your own electricity. Having a backup power solution that does not rely directly on the grid is an invaluable asset in darkest of Africa. Not to mention our weather is perfectly suited to utilising solar power.

There are many different types of solar panels. For those with a geeky or nerdy bend, you can read some of the facts and figures here and here. For those more interested in the TL;DR version, solar panels consist of three basic types: Monocrystalline panels, Polycrystalline panels, and Thin film. 

Monocrystalline panels typically come in stylish black (for those who still believe that black is the new black). The production of these cells is more complicated, but as the associated technologies involving solar panel production advance, monocrystalline panels are becoming more affordable. Polycrystalline panels are rapidly getting to a point where they are nearly as good as monocrystalline panels in terms of efficiency, while having the distinct advantage of being slightly cheaper. Thin film panels are not really energy-efficient and are not recommended for home use. Again, if it’s a detailed review you’re after, you can check out the list of pros and cons of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels here.

Your choice of solar panel should not only be informed by the amount of money required to fund this renovation, but what you need to power. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to install all of the panels you would need in one go (which is a big relief for those of us focussed on finances this year). You can complete your panel installations over time – becoming a panel collector. When your collection is complete and that last panel slides into place, you’ll eventually be completely independent of the grid, and your precious Rands can be better spent elsewhere – paying for umbrella drinks in Hawaii, for example. 

You’re also going to want to open that seldom-used calculator app on your cell phone for this next part. Make a list of the electrical appliances that you use in your home (so, basically, all of them). Then add up how many Watts each of the uses and multiply that by the amount of time you use them. Your toaster, for example, won’t get used nearly as much as your coffee machine/retro kettle or television. This amount is how much energy you use, on average, per day. Now screenshot this result (who uses paper anymore?).

Don’t close the calculator app yet because next you’re going to have to estimate how many hours of sunlight exposure your panels would receive each day. The last step of the equation is to take the amount of Watts you use per day and divide it by the amount of hours during which you have exposure to sunlight. Basically, if you use 3000 Watts per day, and you have 3 hours of sunlight exposure on average, then you need 1000 Watts of solar power.

Now that the hard maths is over, you’re ready to make a decision regarding the installation of your solar panels. That wasn’t too bad, was it? Here comes the really easy part: you can apply for the necessary financing to fund your solar panel collection through FinYou! What’s more, our service professionals are standing by to offer you guidance and advice when you choose Sunburst Electric as your go-to solar panel installer. We’re even willing to keep adding to your collection and promise to pose for selfies on the day the last panel is done!

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