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Myths about Solar Panels

 

 

Myth no 1: Solar power is expensive

Yes, that used to be true. However, with innovations in solar energy technology, economies of scale, and electricity becoming more and more expensive, solar power is no longer just for treehuggers, it actually makes financial sense to Go Solar!

And that's even before we take into account the Eskom rebate. Wouldn't you like the idea of virtually free electricity for life?

Myth no 2: I'll never be able to cover my electricity needs just by going Solar

Did you know that in the Sahara Desert, one can obtain closer to 8.3 kWh/m²/day. The unpopulated area of the Sahara desert is over 9 million km². If covered with solar panels, it would provide 630 terawatts total power. The Earth's current energy consumption rate is around 13.5 TW at any given moment. So the Sahara desert could, all by itself, provide about 50 times the planet's current needs for power. 

Of course, you can't just cover the Sahara desert in solar panels, but it's an interesting theoretical exercise. If every household opted for solar energy, there would be little need for power stations. And we'd all have free electricity.

Myth no 3: I have no guarantee that the solar panels I buy will be any good

Firstly, most solar panels are SABS approved, so they need to adhere to certain standards. Secondly, Eskom has approved certain suppliers - they don't want to give you a rebate on units that they know are not going to stand the test of time. Part of the SABS test is that the units get tested for hail damage, need to withstand a thermal shock test, and they undergo a simulation of the typical sort of abuse that they will encounter during their life span before they get approved.

Myth no 4: If there's no sun, I've got no power.

Hardly something that needs to worry us here in sunny South Africa, but should you run out of solar power, then your geyser will automatically switch back to Eskom power. Solar is so effective that in many countries, individual households can sell back excess capacity to their power utility. Maybe one day, Eskom will also see the light and give you financial compensation for any excess power that you feed back into their grid.

Myth no 5: If the quality of the water in my area is bad, my solar system will malfunction

Water quality can affect performance. However, there are indirect systems on the market to combat poor water quality.

Myth no 6: Most solar installers do a shoddy job

If you want to qualify for the rebate, you'll have to use an Eskom approved installer. These installers will have the necessary qualifications to install your solar geyser properly, and need to sign off the installation, thereby guaranteeing that it meets Eskom's requirements.

Myth no 7: What if there's a problem with my unit? Or what if the supplier disappears?

A valid concern. Choose a unit from a reliable supplier, and make sure it comes with a warranty. Go Solar sources all their products from IntiSolar, one of the biggest supplier of solar systems in South Africa, who source products from a wide range of both local and overseas manufacturers. These guys are here to stay.

 

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