Solar: First Steps

Energy saving – Where to begin!


Ultimately saving and reducing energy prior to implementing solar technology is to reduce the energy footprint without compromising the day to day functionality. In most cases especially in the commercial and industrial sector, replacing old lighting equipment with led replacement units will contribute savings on a huge scale. The out dated old conventional type lights comes from a time when electricity costs were at its lowest and going green was never even heard of.

New age technology not only provides a greener future but also allows for businesses big or small to achieve maximum profitability by minimizing energy costs and generate savings  by up to 65%.

Maximum achievable energy savings in the residential sector is almost the same with minor differences. Besides changing to a led lighting solution technology offers a whole new brand of energy efficiency house hold appliances with an A+ energy savings rating. The combination of led replacing lights and A+ energy efficiency appliance radically reduces the energy needs of any house hold and secures a less costly solar package when going solar.

This guide explains all the you want to know about Solar and Electricity Cost. Please browse down for the categories that interest you.

First a breakdown of the average home and potential savings.


A Solar System consists of the following Components 


  1. Solar Panels.(Harvest Electricity from the Sun)
  2. MPPT (Maximum power point tracker.
  3. Inverter.
  4. Batteries. (Stores Power)
  5. Solar systems  monitoring


Solar Panels.

These panels are used to harvest energy from the sun.

Types of Solar Panels: Monocrystaline and Polycrystaline. The type of Silicon in Mono is of higher quality and is more expensive than Polycrystaline.


Maximum power point tracker (MPPT) 


Solar Panels connect to MPPT in order to convert the energy harvested from the sun to

Solar Panel array connect to the MPPT  that is either directly attached to the battery bank or directly to a grid tie inverter..



( Converts the Power Generated or Stored to usable 220V in the same manner supplied by Eskom)

Quick Overview 

The term Grid refers to electricity grid that is supplied by Eskom or your Local Municipally.


Explanation on the different kind of Inverters:

Inverter with Build in Charger.

The Inverter / charger  act as backup and  provide  standby power in the event of primary gird failure , ie eskom fails to provide power.


Grid Tie Inverter.

Inverter converts Power generated from Solar Panels  directly to the the Grid.


Electricity Cost ,What am I paying for !? 

The basics electricity usage explained in a easy way to understand. 

The best way to compare electricity usage is by using Water as an example. We know that 1 Liter of water is equal to a 1000 ML.Let’s say the tap is open and delivers 1 liter per hour. How many liters of water will the tap deliver in 5 yours ? 1 liter X 5 hours = 5 Liters.To calculate electricity usage is very much the same way,


  1. Eskom ,Minicipality or your pre-paid electricity provider sells energy per unit.
  2. 1 Unit represents 1,000 Kilo Watt hours  or 1 000 Watt hours.
  3. Example: You have 30 down lights installed in your home.
  4. 1 x Ordinary Down light uses 50 watts or 0.050 Kilo Watts (On the box it states 50W some ligts are even more!)
  5. 30 Down Lights would consume 30 (Qty of lights) x 50w (Usage per Down Light) = 1.500 Kilo Watt or 1 500 Watts per hour.
  6. If you use 30 Down Lights for 5 hours per night it would consume 1 500 Watts per hour X 5 hours = 7 500 Watts or 7,5 Units (Which is measured in Kilo Watt Hours).
  7. The Cost of using these Down lights are 7,5 Kilo Watt Hours per day X 31 days = 232,5 Units @ R1.75 per unit = R406,87c per month! 
  8. Should you want to calculate other devices / appliances , there asage are typically written on the back.
  9. Older appliances / devices  (10 years or more) uses marginaly more electricity than newer generation devices

 Thats it!  You now know the basics !

There are some misconceptions out there that if you want to save electricity , that you will have to sacrifice the way you live, which is not true ! You can do whatever you are used to in exactly the same way by using a lot less energy! 


For those of you who like more detail. 

  1. Lets take 1 X basic 200 Liter geyser and calculate monthly cost.
  2. Geyser usage is 3 Kilo Watt per hour or units
  3. Lets be conservative with the figures
  4. In a 24 hour period  with a family of four ,with bath / shower for this geyser it would consume about 12 Kilo Watt per day.
  5. 12 Units X R1,75c /unit X 31 days in a month = R651.00 !
  6. You have now used your Geyser and 30 Down lights and your bill is already R1 057,87c per month!