Frequently asked questions


1. Do you supply Solar Geysers for water heating?

No. Solareff is a specialist solar electricity solutions company and does not provide any water heating products.

2. What is the difference between a Grid Tied and Grid Interactive solution?

In essence you are looking at a solution with or without batteries. A Grid Tied solution needs the electricity grid or a generator to provide power before it will work. In the event of loadshedding and no generator to provide a reference point, your Grid Tied solution will not deliver any power. A Grid Interactive solution has batteries incorporated into the solution and can deliver power in the event of loadshedding. This is not an inexhaustible supply of energy and effective management of consumption is recommended to ensure maximum benefit.

3. What happens when it rains for days on end?

In cloudy and rainy conditions Solar PV panels generate less power. Your reliance on the utility grid or storage (like batteries) would be greater during these times. Should you have a battery bank, the grid could be used to “top-up” the batteries during the period of inclement weather.

4. What does it cost?

The cost is relative to the value being created. When Solareff designs a solution, we look to achieve a pay-back that is in line with the customers’ requirements. Electricity is a cost that will endure as long as the business is operational. We look to offer customers an option where they can build an asset without incurring any additional cost over and above the current electrical expense. The main benefit is that the customer will continue to enjoy a further 20 years of savings after the solution has been paid for!

5. Will a solar PV solution reduce my risk?

A Grid Interactive solution will reduce risk. The solution is designed with batteries that will provide an electrical supply when the grid fails (loadshedding). The size of the battery bank determines the support available. A Grid Tied solution will not reduce risk. We propose that a generator is put in place that has the capability of delivering the total required load. Our technology enables the Grid Tied solution to integrate with the generator and this will reduce the operating cost of the generator.

6. Why is a Grid Interactive solution so much more expensive than a Grid Tied solution?

The two solutions make use of different components. A Grid Tie inverter is significantly less costly than a Grid Interactive inverter. In addition to the increased cost of the inverter, the Grid Interactive solution requires batteries that add a significant cost burden and need to be replaced at a future date.

7. Is there a difference between a residential solution and a commercial solution?

Yes, commercial solutions are focused on saving customers money whilst a residential solution is more focused on reducing risk and increasing comfort in the event of loadshedding. Commercial solutions are typically Grid Tied solutions with no battery back-up and residential solutions need to store electricity generated during the day for evening and early morning consumption when the sun is not delivering sufficient power for the home. Commercial systems have additional tax benefits such as accelerated depreciation which makes it more financially attractive.

8. Can my Grid Tied solution feed back into the Eskom grid?

This is a very contentious issue and the current position is that no feed-back to the Eskom grid is allowed unless a specific process is followed to get approval. There are municipalities who do allow feedback onto the grid, but we recommend that you speak to a specialist on the matter to advice on your specific position. Please check the advice received in the market with us to ensure accuracy!

9. What factors will influence the feasibility of a solar PV solution?

Designing your solution to ensure that over-generation does not take place is a key factor in the engineering design phase and is crucial to ensure economic feasibility. Other key factors include quality of equipment, available roof space, roof orientation and gradient, shading challenges, geographical location and the current electricity tariff being paid.

10. How does location and weather affect a solar solution?

The Solareff engineering team make use of sophisticated data gathered over the past 20 years to determine the amount of available sunshine to produce electricity. This is referred to as the kWh/kWp (kilo watt hour per kilo watt peak) and is one of the most important numbers in the industry. It is critical to ensure that your service provider is using an accurate kWh/kWp assumption tailored to your location and site.

11. Would a solar solution add value to my property?

Yes. A solar solution will provide electricity and shield a tenant from future tariff increases. The landlord has the benefit of retaining the financial benefit or to share the benefit to the tenant to attract a better quality tenant and / or maximize occupancy rates.

12. Are the solutions hail and weather resistant?

The solar modules are exposed to the elements and are thoroughly tested to withstand most hail storms. We have had one incident in the past where panels were damaged by hail. The same customer lost roof tiles and the windscreen of his vehicle in the same storm. The modules were insured as part of the property and replacement was authorized within days.

13. Can I increase the size of the solution after the initial installation?

Yes, PV solutions are extremely modular and can be increased in size at any point. Battery based Grid Interactive solutions do have a slight challenge in terms of modularity. Introducing a new battery bank to an existing battery bank will reduce the efficiency of the new bank. The new bank will operate at the efficiency level of the old bank and this is not advisable. As an engineering company we strive to build the most efficient solutions and propose that a predetermined growth strategy is put in place in line with available cash flow.

14. What questions should I ask my potential service provider before making a commitment?

We propose that the service provider should be able to answer the following questions positively: • Why do you say you have the required technical expertise as permanent staff members to advise us? (Qualified engineers?) • What industry bodies does your business belong to? (SAPVIA, SAAEA) • How do you ensure that you have clear insight into the regulatory aspects of the industry? (Do they serve on industry body decision making panels?) • What is the largest project you have completed to date as the main contractor? • Does your solution offer us the opportunity to monitor system performance online? • Can you provide proof that your equipment provider is a Tier 1 provider?


1. What equipment can I power from the system?

Any equipment that uses electricity to operate can be powered from a Solar PV system. The design of the system would however vary according to the type of equipment that needs to be powered. As an example an off-grid system with a highly inductive load would require a larger system than an on-grid system with no inductive loads. Design remains the key to have an efficient system.

2. What is the life expectation of these systems?

Solar PV systems has a design life in excess of 25 years and do last for as long as 35 years.

3. Can I feed power back into the grid?

The Solar PV system technology provides for feeding power back into the utility grid but the current legislative regulatory framework in South Africa does not make this possible. Legal net-metering, wheeling and back-feed are however imminent.

4. What size roof space is required?

With South African solar irradiation conditions generally 10m2 is required per kWp.

5. Can Solar PV produce 3 phase power?

Yes. It is however dependent on the design of the systems which makes it important to use qualified electrical engineers like those in our service to design your system.


1. What is Wp or kWp?

Watt peak or kilowatt peak refers to the rated maximum power output of a Solar PV module. A 300Wp module would therefore produce 300 Watts of electrical power at the optimal conditions.

2. What is meant by an “off-grid” system?

This is an electrical system that operates independently from the utility grid. It generates and distributes its own power from Solar PV or other sources for use within the proximity of the system. The most common examples are remote rural farms where no electrical grid is available. Some urban installations also consider and use off-grid systems to be independent from the electrical grid to avoid unscheduled outages.

3. What is meant by an “on-grid” or “grid-tied” system?

In this instance the utility (national of municipal) grid installation for a specific property remains intact. The Solar PV system is used to generate power that gets fed into the property’s electrical reticulation. The more power that is generated by the PV system, the less the reliance is on the grid, and vica versa. In this instance the utility grid is relied upon for security of supply.

4. What is an Inverter?

A power inverter, or inverter, is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The input voltage, output voltage and frequency, and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry.

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