PacB Group // Backup Solar Power | Solar Energy Solutions


Backup Solar Power | Solar Energy Solutions

Different Types of Backup Solar Power Systems

Backup solar power has evolved immensely over the past decade and is fast becoming an option of choice for many Sub-Saharan African populations and countries. It is a pollutant-free alternative to a sustainable way of silently powering homes, businesses and industries. Additionally, photovoltaic (PV) technologies and battery storage capacities have advanced to a point where it is arguably one of the most cost-efficient ways of keeping the lights switched on. For these reasons, PacB Power Solutions explore the various types of backup solar power systems.

The Importance of Securing Backup Solar Power Systems

If you live in an African country like South Africa, you will know that the national electricity supply grid has deteriorated to such an extent that the servicing power utility can no longer keep the lights on. You will also be aware that there is no immediate solution to this challenge and, with pre-construction processes negatively affecting any form of development in this area, extended periods of load shedding at high levels are expected to continue through into 2024 and significant change might only be achieved by 2027 at the earliest.

With this in mind, accompanied by anticipated tariff increases, many South Africans are investigating individualised, self-consumption electricity supply options and the use of the sun’s energy is proving to be a popular choice. Not only can it alleviate the irritations and anxiety caused by constant power outages, but it could assist in the challenges of climate change and the transition to an eco-friendly energy system while making use of unused surface areas like completed municipal garbage landfills and disused mine dumps, hospital and multi-story commercial rooftops, or even residential roofs, decking areas and under-utilised back yards.

 5 Different Types of Backup Solar Power Systems

Although solar energy is weather-dependent, South Africa is a sunny country and enjoys its benefits year-round. The country has a solar radiation average of 220W/m2, making this resource capacity one of the highest in the world. It is no wonder then that harnessing this energy and ensuring a consistent electricity supply is available during night-time and cloudy days have become a priority for many South Africans.


  1. Completely Off-Grid – Some larger residences, businesses and industries prefer a tandem (or integrated) backup power solution involving PV arrays, battery banks and fuel-powered generators. However, in many instances, going solo with solar is a viable option. A large-capacity battery backup will be required to power through night usage and cloudy days and an inverter capable of accommodating the maximum-capacity load drawn to the premises would have to accompany the system.

In urban areas and in locations where there is a supply of electricity to the property, albeit intermittent, a full off-grid system with extended arrays of PV  modules and banks of battery storage may be unnecessary. However, in rural areas or in vicinities where the utility provider does not offer sufficient service, it is an alternative worth exploring.


  1. Coupled with the Grid (or Grid Tied) – This is one of the most cost-efficient backup solar power solutions, especially for home-office, remote workers or work-from-home professionals. The system operates in tandem with the grid. It does not include load management or battery storage facilities, so fewer PV modules are required to power the system.


It is simply an array of PV modules that is large enough to sustain day-time base-loads like running the office electrical equipment and IT requirements, and domestic appliances in and outside the home. Equally, it may be an attractive solution for retail stores, workshops and other day-time working environments.

The small initial investment of acquiring and installing the modules and low maintenance costs make it a viable option. However, it would only accommodate load shedding through the day and alternative solutions would have to be sought for power cuts through peak morning and evening hours and at night.


  1. Grid Backup and Hybrid Systems – If media reports and economic experts’ predictions are accurate, and noticeable changes to South Africa’s power inefficiencies are years away, backup solar power will have to be designed to accommodate longer periods without electricity. This includes cold winters and rainy seasons and the possibility of up to 13 hours of load shedding daily.


Expanding on the PV array may be necessary accompanying a larger battery bank. Adding a hybrid inverter along with the additional modules and batteries allows a combination of the PV system power generation and that from the stored energy in the battery to accommodate essential loads for longer periods. When the power is on, another consideration could be to add batteries through a hybrid inverter to the grid, having an additional backup should even longer periods need to be endured.


  1. Enhancing Self-Consumption – As with hybrid systems, large battery solutions may add significantly to initial investments. However, with the inevitable rising tariffs from the utility, its failure to supply consistent electricity, and uncertain increases in fuel prices, alternatives are risky. Backup solar power alternatives offer a stable cost platform. After initial investments, maintenance costs are nominal, power is sustainable and there is only one monthly commitment, being the instalment. There are no variables with this solution.


Unless the objective is to have daytime power only, a hybrid combination of direct PV module power, batteries with a hybrid inverter and a manner to heat water efficiently could provide an enhanced self-consumption experience. Direct PV or battery energy could be used to heat the electric geyser or a powerless solar energy solution could be installed while PV power could be diverted to time-set appliances like the washing machine to switch on only through peak solar periods.


  1. Peak Shaving Solar Solutions – Along with some domestic and commercial users, many industries are charged more for their consumption than others. During morning and evening peak hours, or any other times when the user’s electricity consumption exceeds certain thresholds, these users would need to trim their power usage, and a successful manner to do this is through backup solar power solutions.


During sunny days, PV modules will harness the solar energy and store it in a battery pack. The stored energy can then be used during peak hours and hours when production pushes the usage above the users’ maximum threshold. Again, the size and cost of the battery pack are dependent on the maximum draw to the property.

Backup Solar Power Solutions that Pack a Punch  

PacB Power Solutions specialise in alternative power generation. Although we are based in Pretoria, South Africa, our footprint spans the nation and the continent of Africa. From residential installations to our full portfolio of satisfied commercial and industrial clientele, to the growing list of our new and potential clients, we always deliver. We strive to achieve service excellence through innovative design, technical ability, skill and expertise. For power generation through fuel-powered generators and solar-related solutions, consult with PacB – your answer to power solutions.


Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

© All content copyright PacB Power Solutions
close slider