Photovoltaic (PV) panels are used to harness energy from the sun, which is then converted to electricity. There are two ways in which a photovoltaic system can be connected for the electricity to be made use of. This would be either as a Grid-tied system or an Off- Grid system.
Pricing in 2014 for a grid tied Photovoltaic system could start at approximately R25/Watt and approximately R54/Watt for an off-grid system.
This system relies on energy harnessed from the sun to be stored into a battery from which it may be consumed. This system runs independently from the local utility provider. In order for this system to be used the panels need to be aligned to charge the batteries within the daylight hours and the battery bank should be sized in accordance to the intended use.
Grid tied system
This system will be connected to the local utility power grid. Any energy harnessed from the sun through the PV panels will be in line to serve the consumer, and when not in use or the sun harnesses surplus energy, it is fed back into the local utility power grid. In this system there is no need for battery banks to store the energy harnessed by the sun.
In order to have a system tied to the grid, there are certain requirements by the local council in order to do so for a legal connection.
Either approach, an off-grid or grid-tied system may be used to start gaining from the available free energy.
Photovoltaic (PV) Electricity generation
Photovoltaic(PV) systems are used to generate electricity through PV solar panels installed on the best lit surface of the premises. Each panel is an electrical device built up of solar cells converting light energy directly into electricity to power lights and appliances. The system can either be connected directly into the electrical mains power grid(Grid-Tied) or may be used to power a battery bank(Off-Grid). Grid- Tied systems have a lower initial expense in comparison to battery operated systems. An average Grid-Tied PV system varies in price ranging from R12 300 to R170 000 for a 250W and 6000W system respectively and have a 5 to 6 year return on investment. These systems carry a 25 year warrantee.