The Sun Over Zesa: Going Off-Grid with Solar Power!

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to drive the “Work-From-Home” trend, the spike in load-shedding and power interruptions is driving renewed interest in solar energy solutions for residential properties.

The Current State of Power in South Africa: While the reasons for load-shedding differ from month to month, the underlying problem remains the same – there is simply not enough electricity generation to meet the demand of Zimbabwean electricity consumers.

Off-Grid vs Grid-Tied Solar Power Systems: The state of our country’s power utility begs the question: Should I remain connected to the unreliable grid or should I become completely energy independent? DrillCorp Zimbabwe answers this question by recommending a maximum of 95% off-grid system but still remaining grid-tied. One should remain grid-tied in order to handle power spikes, generated by things such as kettles and geysers. For the average person, it is not financially feasible to go 100% off-grid as the cost of that final 5% can be expensive. 

Another reason is that an off-grid system will not be able to use grid-generated power during periods of bad weather - if there is no sun to your system cannot generate power. You should have enough solar panels and ample battery capacity to circumvent this issue of being completely off-grid which is exactly why it is so expensive.

Crucial Tips When Considering a Solar Power Installation:

Necessity of Battery Back-Up: It is vital that you make use of a battery backup in your solar power system (hybrid solar power system). DrillCorp Zimbabwe advises that it does not pay to install solar panels only that provides power directly to your appliances as this will only be useful during the hours when the sun is shining (light hours). 
The Sun Over Zesa: Going Off-Grid with Solar Power!
The Sun Over Zesa: Going Off-Grid with Solar Power!
This is exactly the time that one is typically away at work or school which means you will not actually use the solar power generated and you will also not be able to store it for later use. Instead, install a battery that can be charged during light hours and used on-demand.

DrillCorp Zimbabwe implores clients not to go cheap on their battery! It will save you money in the long run. Take note in particular of how many cycles a battery can perform as this has a drastic effect on its life expectancy. A low-quality battery that performs 1 000 cycles over its lifetime will last approximately 3 years, forcing you to replace it much sooner, whilst a high-quality battery such as the Alpha ESS, cycles over 10 000 times in its life span, lasting upwards of twelve years. 

A great feature of Alpha ESS, is its monitoring software which allows you to monitor your system in real-time taking all the guesswork out of the performance of your solar power system.

Qualified and Reputable Installer: Make use of the best installer as this will ultimately have a major impact on the longevity of the system. There is no use in spending money on an expensive solar system, for it to potentially be installed incorrectly by an incompetent contractor. When you have decided to invest in a solar solution, you will want to make sure you’ve got the best people doing the job. Any installer that you consider when conducting solar company reviews should meet a few basic requirements. In this checklist we provide you with all the criteria you should keep in mind when hiring a contractor.

With solar power, the goal should be to save money for the next 25 to 30 years, not a little bit on the installation costs. Saving money without solar power system depends entirely on having the right system that is able to last as long as it is guaranteed to.

The main drivers of your decision to go solar should be savings and reliability of supply. Zesa’s prices continue to skyrocket, and our power grid is becoming more unstable by the day. Solar is only going to become more relevant as time goes by.

We need to start becoming part of the solution by installing solar solutions to supplement Zesa power.

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