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FAQ

Solution

 

Does Solar Light provide all the components required for a complete system installation?

Yes, we typically offer turnkey solutions to ensure the satisfaction of our customers.  Our prices are quoted complete and installed, and include panels, batteries, inverter, mountings, light fixtures, and even appliances.

 

How long does it take for the system to be installed and operational from time of order?

With all materials ready, we complete standard systems in one day.  However, we have found that the lead time for ordering some components can be long (up to six weeks) because of special orders and unique items.  Solar Light stocks most standard items to minimize delays, but we recommend that you order well in advance to take such unavoidable delays into account.

 

What is your schedule of payments?

We require a 50% down payment with the remainder due upon completion of installation.  Solar Light is not able to offer direct financing at this time.

 

I need a system to power a fridge, freezer, TV, lights, stereo, computer, and a fax machine. Not all the equipment will be on all the time, but the fridge and some lights must be on.  How much will it cost?

Solar Power for such a system would cost from $2,000-$5,000 depending on how long your appliances are on, how efficient they are, and how "independent" of the grid you want to be.  A Solar Light consultant can make a detailed assessment of your needs.

 

I experience blackouts for 12 hours or even 24 hours at a time.  Will there be sufficient energy to give me uninterrupted power?

Yes.  Our battery systems are designed to store 48 hours of power (you can add batteries if you need more).  This energy will come from mains or solar panels.

 

Is there enough solar energy in Ghana to have the system working adequately all year round?

Yes.  Cloud cover varies from place to placer, but even under indirect light the panels still produce appreciable power.  However, under extreme conditions the 48-hour design will server you for two continuous days of virtually no sunlight.  It is also important to keep panels free of dust, particularly in the Harmattan season.

 

Could electricity from mains be used to help speed up the battery-charging process?

Yes, we design standby systems which charge from mains when it is available and from solar at all other times.  This helps reduce the overall cost of the PV system.

 

Can I use a diesel or petrol generator with my Solar Light system?

Yes.  In addition to standalone solar electric systems, Solar Light Co. offers hybrid solar/mains, solar/genset, and solar/genset/mains systems.  All of these are installed into your existing distribution system and are configured to switch easily from one power source to another. 

Your Solar Light system can drastically reduce the amount of money you would spend on a generator.  With a hybrid system you can use the generator for heavy loads or emergencies, while your Solar Light system provides power and saves you money every day.

Can the system switch automatically to solar when there is a blackout?

Your standby solar system will installed into the electrical distribution of your home or office, and can be fitted with an automatic or manual changeover switch.  We recommend the manual switch because it is safer to turn off sensitive appliances and switch the power yourself.

 

If the solar panels are to be mounted on the roof of the house, how much space is required?

Each panel measures about 3 feet by 1-1/2 feet.  The installation space should be clear of obstruction (shadows of buildings and trees) throughout the day.  Rooftops are usually good, and flat concrete roofs are the most stable for flat mounts.  However, we offer a tubular wall mount for buildings with tile or slate roofs, or a pole mount for ground installation.

 

What kind of maintenance is needed for my Solar Light system?

There is virtually no maintenance required except for occasional cleaning of the panel surface to keep it free of dust and dirt, and regular battery checks.  However, Solar Light Co. remains in touch with you to advise on how to save energy and gain the most from your investment.

 

How many years of service can I expect from the solar energy system before replacement?

Solar Light's unique design and expertise ensure that the system can last well over 30 years.  Our panels have a 20-year warranty. Batteries last for 2-5 years, depending on the type.  Other components carry a one year warranty.

 

I live in a rented house.  Can I take my Solar Light system with me when I move?

Your Solar Light system can easily be moved when you relocate.  The pieces are modular and will be reassembled at your new site.

 

I am worried about security if my panels are left outside.  How secure are the panels?

Our panels are mounted with deep concrete bolts, and would be difficult to remove by unauthorized people.  In addition, the panel has far less value on its own without the battery, controller, and inverter which are indoors.

 

Is my Solar Light system expandable?

Solar Light PV systems are modular and in most cases can be expanded simply by adding more panels or more batteries, depending on whether you need more generating capacity or storage capacity, respectively.

 

Glossary of Solar Terms

 

AC: Abbreviation for Alternating Current

 

 

Alternating Current (AC):  The form of electricity usually produced by turbines and generators.  The flow of electricity in the wire reverses at regular intervals, usually 50 times a second (50 Hertz).  This is the standard for most electrical and electronic equipment.

 

Array:  An assembly of interconnected panels used to deliver higher voltage or current as needed.

 

Balance of System (BOS):  All the components which make the photovoltaic modules functional: batteries, regulators, wiring, etc.

Controller (or Regulator):  A device connected between the panel and the battery which prevents the battery from being overcharged or undercharged by the panel.  This helps the system function properly and last longer.

DC:  Abbreviation for Direct Current

Diode:  An electronic device which allows current to flow in one direction only.  For example, it is used to prevent current flowing from the battery to the panel at night.

Direct Current (DC):  The form of electricity normally produced by batteries.  The electricity flows through the wire in the same direction all the time (see AC).

Fuse:  A device which is used to protect vital equipment from being overloaded and possibly destroyed.

Insolation:  The amount of sunlight available at a specific place and time.  It stands for Incident SOLar radiATION.

Inverter:  A device used to convert direct current (usually from batteries) into alternating current for use in standard appliances.

Kilowatt (kW):  A measure of electrical power equal to one thousand watts.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh):  A measure of electrical energy equal to one thousand watt-hours, or the energy consumed when an appliance uses one thousand watts continuously for one hour.

Load:  A general term used to describe any appliance that consumes electricity.

Lumen:  The standard measure of light intensity.  This is a good way of comparing the brightness of different light sources (lantern, incandescent, fluorescent, etc.).  For example, an 11-watt compact fluorescent lamp gives off as many lumens as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

Megawatt (MW):  A measure of electrical power equal to one million watts.  The power output of large generating stations is usually measured in megawatts.

Panel:  A device in which many small photovoltaic cells (or modules) are connected and packaged to create a robust, weatherproof power source.

Peak Watts:  The maximum power output that can be delivered by a panel or array. 

Photovoltaic Energy:  The energy delivered when light shines on certain types of material such as semiconductors.

PV:  Abbreviation for Photovoltaic

Regulator:  A device used to control the level of charge from the solar panel to the battery.  It prolongs battery life by preventing excessive charging and discharging.

Solar Energy:  Energy from the sun which sustains life on earth.  Some of this energy can be used to generate electricity directly.

Solar Panel:  See "Panel".

Watt (W):  A standard measure of power.  In electrical systems power can be calculated by multiplying voltage by current. Note: power is the rate of energy with time.

Watt-hour (Wh):  A measure of energy when one watt of power is used constantly for one hour.

Wp:  Peak Watts 

 

 

 
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Article ID: 9
Category: Solar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Date added: 1-Jun-2013 5:07pm
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