Useful solar & UPS

Tips and advice

Knowledge base

Know what to and what NOT to do when choosing a solar supplier and system.

Know YOUR Stuff

DC voltage drop

DC (direct current) drops dramatic voltage over distance, find a voltage drop calculator to ensure you are using the right gauge cable to justify the load. Never under-spec cable thickness, a few Rands saved here will cost you in the long run.


Inductive Loads

Inductive loads use more current on start-up than normal loads, inductive loads will use between 6-10 time their normal load to start up then run at their specified rating as they first need to fill their innards with electricity before performing their function. Be aware of these loads, inverters can only supply their specified power, one needs to allow enough power to start these loads through inverters.



Over-spec is always a good idea, having power when there is no mains power becomes an addiction, much like becoming reliant on creature comforts. There is always something we would like to add, something we didn't think of initially... A charger, A TV, A baby monitor? Accumulation of assets is what we do, how we progress through life. Rather over-spec than have to re-invests in a larger system later.



Solar panels are tested and their rating specified under "Ideal" conditions. Much like automotive vehicles power ratings are tested at sea level where there is much more oxygen. Africa being a great source of sunlight and ideal condition, we will only ever see 80% of a solar panels maximum rating.

Solar panels need to be kept clean, cool and in direct sunlight in order to perform their function correctly.


East-West panels

Although north facing panels perform best in the southern hemisphere, we have found that early morning and late afternoon charge may sometimes be a challenge or "Lacking".

Facing panels in an easterly or westerly direction often helps with morning or afternoon power restrictions.


DOD (Depth of Discharge)

Depth of discharge, something most won't tell you about. This is something we all need to consider! We can easily sell you a "Cheap" solar system? Where in fact, there is nothing cheap about this method. "goed koop is duur koop!" is the only real truth to this. A well designed, well implemented solar setup is the only real way to save money over the long haul.

Batteries are the largest expense in a solar off-grid or backup power investment. Saving on the quantity of batteries may seem a great way to save or spend less on the initial investment but it will come back to bite you later!

Batteries, used correctly will save you money in the long haul. Batteries do not enjoy being cycled to 80% of their capacity. The more batteries you have (Spec'd correctly) allow for less discharge, thus allowing a far greater life expectancy.


Shared Neutrals

Any solar power/Backup-power installers biggest nightmare! Unless an installer has investigated the wiring requirement, do not accept their quote! This may just work out to be a hefty wiring bill you didn't expect!

DB's (Distribution boards) are very simple isolation circuits. Allowing the breaking of circuits if they are overloaded. This is all good and well until one understands the deeper workings of them.

Each circuit line in a house has a "Live" wire, through a breaker controlling that circuits max current. What most don't see is that all circuits consist of "LIVE" and "Neutral" wires. The DB may house and manage the "LIVE" wires, they do not manage the "Neutrals".

Law states that each circuit needs to be managed by an earth leakage and a current restrictive breaker. Many "neutrals" are "Shared" between plug points and light fittings. This is all good and well until one starts to separate them.