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Photovoltaic energy: A quick glance | 04 October 2019

Photovoltaic energy: A quick glance

Electricity is one of the most essential resources in our daily lives. It allows us to power all our household gadgets from large electrical appliances like fridges and heaters to smaller ones such as radios or mobile chargers.

Electricity can be derived from an infinite source and hence the name renewable energy.

Renewable energy has been around for decades even if we, as a nation, have only just started tapping into this unlimited form of energy.

Whether it be in the form of solar, wind, geothermal or even hydro power, these forms of renewable energy have unlimited potential in terms of powering our homes for any reason we may have since we can keep tapping into them and it won’t affect the environment or ever run out.

The most common and reliable form of energy comes from the sun i.e. solar energy and so for us to harvest this energy and convert it into electricity for our daily needs, we would need to understand what a Photovoltaic system is.

 

A Photovoltaic system is one that uses solar panels that are usually mounted on a rooftop, to convert energy coming from the sun into DC (Direct Current) electricity, which is then fed into a piece of equipment called an inverter which converts the DC electricity into a more stable and usable form called AC (Alternative Current) electricity which is what we use to power our electrical devices.

Photovoltaic (PV) system can be set up in two different ways.

They can either be connected to the existing electrical grid, allowing the PV system to feed whatever electricity it produces into the grid and allows the grid to act as a storage. The customer then uses the electricity supplied from the grid but also monitors how much electricity is put back into the grid from the PV system. The electricity supplier would then measure how much electricity is produced from the PV system versus how much is consumed from the grid and then charges the customer accordingly by calculating the difference in the electricity amount produced and the amount consumed.

The other method is to have a battery system installed on site that allows whatever electricity being produced by the PV system to be stored in batteries and then use the stored electricity directly in their home.

The third method is to have a mixture of the two systems called Hybrid PV systems. Part of the electricity is stored in the batteries and once the batteries are fully charged the excess electricity is fed into the grid. The advantage is that you may not require a full storage system and if the grid is down you can still get some electricity from your battery storage

Of the three methods the full battery system is by far the most expensive as it doubles the investment cost of your PV system but allows you to be totally self-sustainable.

The former method is the most cost efficient as you do not have to invest in additional equipment to store your electricity.

PV systems are considered to be one of the safest methods of farming solar energy as it has no moving parts and therefore there is little need to maintain the system, with the only exception being to ensure your solar panels are free of dirt as this would slightly affect the output of the PV system.

The best reason to invest in PV is that it can essentially provide you with FREE electricity for your house and a significantly lowered electricity bill for your business! Furthermore the cost of electricity is on the rise and the investment cost in PV is relatively low in that you can recover your investment from the money saved from your electricity. However in Seychelles, domestic users pay a lower unit cost than commercial users such that the investment return for commercial users is much better than for domestic users.

For example a domestic user consuming 200 units per month will pay approximately R224 plus a fixed demand charge which together will amount to R264. The cost of a PV system to supply this demand will come to R51,000. The government rebate of R16,700 will reduce the cost to R34,000. However the payback period will take up to 13 years or 7.7% return on investment.

A high end user consuming over 600 units per month will pay a bill of about R1,382 with a demand charge of about R95 . The size of PV system to meet the total electricity consumption will be 6.0 kWp and cost R148,000 less a rebate of R25,000 giving a total cost of R123,000. The yearly savings in electricity will average R16,584. The investment cost can then be paid back in 7.4 years giving a return on investment of 13.5%.

For commercial users the payback period is even more attractive. For example a commercial user consuming about 100 units per month will be paying approximately R3,650 plus a demand charge of R167. To meet such a demand the size of PV required will be 10kWp and cost R255,000. Less a rebate of R63,300 will amount to R190,000. The annual savings will amount to R43,800 giving a payback period of 4.3 years or a rate of return of 23.25%.

When it comes to PV systems, VetiverTech is one of Seychelles’ leading PV installers with over 1.5 Megawatts of PV systems being installed on all of the three major islands – Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

VetiverTech’s experience in PV is second to none as we do a full assessment of your electricity bills and calculate the exact size of the PV system you would require. This is also done by conducting a site visit to ensure you have adequate roof space for you to install your system as well as any other technical details.

All of VetiverTech’s systems are installed using German made solar inverters as well as high quality and efficient solar panels, which have a guaranteed lifespan of at least 25 years.

Visit our website www.vetivertech.com or call us on 4321221 / 2526655 / 2530456 for your free quotation today!

 

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