PacB Group // What are the Benefits of Residential Solar Systems?


What are the Benefits of Residential Solar Systems?

Residential solar systems are versatile solar power systems for homeowners. They are generally designed to provide backup power when grid power is unavailable but can be installed purely for cost savings from the reduction of power purchases from the utilities. In this article, we’ll explore some of the benefits of residential solar systems, but first, let’s compare grid-tied and hybrid solar systems.

Comparison of Grid-Tied and Hybrid Residential Solar Systems

Home solar systems, for cost savings only, usually consist of grid-tied inverters and do not use batteries. They consequently have no ability to store electrical energy and only produce power while the sun shines. These systems can only provide power while the grid is present and stop producing power for safety reasons when the grid falls away or if there is no sun. Hybrid residential solar systems have batteries and can, therefore, store electrical energy for use when the grid fails or there is no sun. Hybrid systems may also be able to function in locations where there is no grid power at all.

The advantages of grid-tied systems are lower cost, as the cost of batteries is saved, and the fact that they have marginally higher generation efficiencies than hybrid inverters. The obvious downside is that they do not produce power during grid interruptions and during bad weather or at night. These systems are only really an option where grid power is very reliable and where a relatively large amount of power is used in the daytime.

They also work well where grid is reliable and excess power generated can be fed back into the grid during the day – whether for compensation from the utility or as a credit which the homeowner can use at night. In most homes, particularly where most of the residents are at work or school during the day, grid-tied systems are producing their peak power when no one is home to use it.

Hybrid residential solar systems with batteries that can store electrical energy for use when the grid fails or when there is no sun, are more expensive but far more flexible than grid-tied inverters. In a country like South Africa, with a very unreliable grid, hybrid systems are the only practical option for homeowners. Batteries are essential to provide power during load shedding and technical outages.


The Benefits of Residential Solar Systems

Let’s explore some of the benefits of having a solar system installed in your home.

  1. Residential Solar Systems Can Lower Your Energy Costs

Residential solar systems offer a multitude of benefits for South African homeowners, leading to significant energy cost savings. They reduce the need to purchase power from the grid, resulting in lower utility bills. These solar systems act as a hedge against future tariff increases, safeguarding a portion of the power supply with predictable costs. They also provide protection for household appliances by delivering stable and reliable power, shielding them from potential damage caused by fluctuating utility power. Specific cost savings will depend on factors such as the size of the solar system, the amount of electricity consumed, how much sunshine your area receives, and what the prevailing electricity tariffs are.

Residential solar systems give you backup and savings at the same time. They harness sunlight to generate electricity, providing a renewable and clean source of power that you don’t need to buy from your utility. By installing solar panels on your home, you can generate a portion of or the entirety of your electricity needs. Reducing your reliance on grid-supplied electricity goes hand-in-hand with having backup power for load shedding and technical faults.

South African municipalities are slowly coming around to the realisation that buying excess power produced by residential solar systems is in their best interest. Most of the bigger metros have provided for some form of compensation for feedback from solar systems – whether net metering or a feed-in tariff programme. Net metering allows homeowners with solar systems to export excess electricity they generate back to the grid. The surplus energy is credited to your account. During periods of low or no solar generation, you can use the credits earned earlier. Credits are typically used for nighttime usage.

  1. Reduce Your Grid Dependency

South Africa has experienced frequent electricity price increases and supply constraints in recent years. Eskom has increased tariffs by over 600% since 1987. While the upfront cost of installing a solar system can be significant, when viewed against Eskom’s unreliability and continuous double digit tariff hikes, residential solar systems can be considered a good long-term investment. Solar panels have a lifespan of 25 years or more, and their maintenance costs are relatively low. Over time, the savings on electricity bills can far outweigh the initial investment.

The South African government has implemented various incentive programmes to encourage the adoption of renewable energy, including solar power, and some of these are aimed at the homeowner. These incentives will help offset the initial installation costs and make residential solar systems more affordable.

  1. Residential Solar Systems Are Eco-friendly

Residential solar systems produce clean and sustainable energy that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional fossil-fuel-based electricity generation, such as coal. Homeowners that switch to solar contribute to a cleaner environment and support South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Residential Solar Systems or Generator?

Residential solar systems and generators are both options for generating electricity in a residential setting, but they have distinct differences, including their cost, environmental impact, reliability, and maintenance requirements.

Generators typically have a lower upfront cost (size for size) compared to a residential solar system. Generators rely on fossil fuels, such as diesel or petrol, to provide electrical power, which means there are ongoing fuel expenses. Residential solar systems have higher capital costs but provide electricity at a substantially lower cost in the long run since sunlight is free and the systems need very little maintenance.

Generators can work day and night, no matter the weather conditions. This make generators more reliable during extended periods of inclement weather or at sites with limited sunlight. Unfortunately, they do produce emissions and contribute to air pollution when burning fossil fuels. Solar systems do not produce power at night or during bad weather but generate electricity without emissions, making them a cleaner and more environmentally friendly option.

Solar systems generally have very low maintenance requirements compared to generators. Solar panels are durable and typically have warranties lasting 25 years or more. They may only require occasional cleaning and inspection. Generators need regular maintenance, including fuel refills, oil changes, and engine servicing. Generators also produce noise when operating, which can be a concern, especially in residential areas where peace and quiet are valued. A residential solar system has almost no moving parts, making them a far quieter alternative.


Engage with Power System Experts Who Know Solar Systems and Generators

The choice between a residential solar system and a generator depends on factors such as your specific energy needs, budget, environmental considerations, and the reliability of the local electricity grid. The more frequent and severe the load shedding, the higher the inconvenience and potential financial impact.

We at PacB are a long-established leader in the Southern African power-generation industry. We provide everything from large-capacity, industrial diesel generators to a comprehensive range of UPSes and state-of-the-art renewable energy systems. Our solar expertise covers everything from small residential systems to utility scale solutions. Contact us today if you want the convenience and savings of a residential solar system.

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

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