Why should I buy a system now, if the technology is still getting cheaper

It  is  true  that  the  cost  of  panels  and  hardware  has  reduced  over  the  last  5-7  years largely driven by increases in manufacturing scale (volume). However, volumes in most of  the  major  markets  (Europe,  Japan  and  USA)  have  stabilized  now  and  we  don’t expect  significant  improvement  in  scale.  In fact, we believe panels

  • Is the biggest  cost component  in  the  system
  • And may be  at  an  artificially  low  price  at  the  moment  due  to the  Chinese  government  who reduced  their  feed  in  tariffs  in  June  2016,  which  slowed demand in China and has contributed to a global oversupply.

Can you guarantee the savings? Why not?

We  cannot  guarantee  savings  because  the  savings  depend  on  how  you  consume  energy in your home, which is beyond our  control. We base our savings estimates on typical  patterns  of  consumption  and  behaviour  that  we  have  seen  across  hundreds  of sites,  to  come  up  with  an  estimate  of  your  self-consumption. Your actual self-consumption ultimately depends on your behaviour

  • You can improve it by putting as many loads as possible (including pool pumps, dishwashers, geysers) during the day.

Where are your panels/ inverters made?

Solar  panel  manufacturers  are  classified  by  Tiers:  Tier  1,  Tier  2,  Tier  3  etc.  The Tier 1 classification  is  used  for  companies  with  the  most  sophisticated production and  R&D facilities  and  the  longest  track  record  in  the  industry.  We use panels from several manufacturers

  • Trina, Renesolar, Canadian Solar, Solar Frontier
  • All of whom are Tier 1 manufacturers.

What is special about your solutions/company?

When you deal with us, you are dealing with an established company. We have almost

200 employees across all our divisions and are the preferred energy solution provider for multiple   listed companies (including Pick ‘nPay, Netcare, Pioneer) PSG  is  the majority  stakeholder  in  the  company,  so  you  are  dealing  with  a  strong brand  and  a company that is going to be around for as long as your system.

How does your solution compare to a solar geyser?

A solar geyser is quite effective under the right conditions.  However, it has several drawbacks that a heat pump does not:  It requires appropriate roof space, it only works during clear days and it uses a very inefficient resistive element to top up in winter or at night. A heat pump is able to produce hot water efficiently at any time of the day or night and throughout the year, so you are always saving money.

Do I need batteries?

Batteries  are  optional  and  all  of  our  systems  can  work  without  batteries.  Adding batteries have 2 advantages they  provide  backup  power  if  there  is  a  power  failure (typically  enough  to  power  your  lights  and  critical  appliances)  and they  increase  your saving by storing extra solar energy during the day and allowing you to use it at night. However, batteries do increase system costs and complexity.

What if I sell my house before the system pays itself off?

This should not influence your decision. The new home owners will continue to get all of the benefits of the system. As a result, a good quality, well designed system will raise the value of your home, enabling you to recover the cost in your home sale. A study in the USA conducted by the Department of Energy (i.e. not sponsored by a solar company) showed that having a solar system boosted property values by $15,000 (R225,000), for a typical residential sized system (3.6 kW).

What about going off grid?

Going completely off grid is possible and we have done several successful off grid systems. However, going 100% off grid is very expensive, even for a regular house, and typically only makes financial sense if you are in a remote area with no municipal feed.

What about feeding back into the grid?

Every municipality has different rules about feeding back energy into the grid some don’t allow it at all, some allow it but don’t compensate you and some have specific feed in schemes and tariffs that you can participate in. However, the feed in tariffs are still very low typically 50 or 60 c per kWh compared to R2.00 that you buy electricity at. Therefore the best approach is to try and size your system so that you use as much of the energy yourself.

Can I just roll my meter backwards?

Many homes have old fashioned, analogue municipal meters to measure their energy consumption. Some of these meters actually roll backwards if you export energy i.e. they subtract the energy you export from what you use. Regulations clearly do not allow the export of energy through these meters. In the Western Cape, homeowners are required to register their system with the municipality, who will then come and replace the roll meter with a prepaid meter that cannot go in reverse.  However, it is still common practice in many areas for home owners to not register their systems, to keep their old meters and to export and roll their meters back thereby increasing their savings. We do not endorse such an approach, but if you choose to use your system like that and not register it, it is ultimately your decision. Most importantly, the systems that we implement are fully compliant, so that if you do need to register the system in future, you can.