Solar power and the like

I’m in the process of acquiring as much knowledge as possible about solar power systems.
I’ve read several blog posts and articles, and I’ve been tracking a few online solar power stores.

The reason for this is twofold:

  1. We’re considering a hybrid system at home to run a few essentials during loadshedding.
  2. My wife’s business is pretty much standing still whenever there’s loadshedding.

Is there anyone here that has been through the experience?
Do you know of any reputable companies in Gauteng?


This is the better type of designs. Certain things like geysers, fridges, freezers, geysers and microwaves are heavy on the batteries.

So getting a solar water heater and considering a gas stove/oven also helps.


Does your wife work from home? As I understand that makes the solar usage more worth it. A guy at work recently got a quote for a solar system. I’ll see if I can get it for you?


Thanks, Psycho. We already manage with gas cooking when there’s no power, so no issue there. So far we haven’t had any issues like losing food, so I’m not (at this point) considering powering the fridge during loadshedding.

Czc, my wife does not work from home, but I’m considering a system at home just as much as she’s considering one for work!
Can’t expect you to ask someone else for their quote, although it would be interesting to see and would likely assist me in my planning.

Also, if I power my router during an outage, will I have internet?


Generally, and this depends, if your router is up you should have Internet.

However, this depends on quite a number of factors completely outside of your control


I’m not sure what your usage is like but I’m currently considering an off-grid setup and have the following in mind:

Axpert 5kVa 5000W 48V
Pylon US3000B 3.5kWh Li-Ion Battery X1
8 x 350W (2800W) Poly Panels

To cover the now stage 4 loading shedding 3x 2.30 hour blocks. This like in your case excludes major appliances and covers only the essentials (Network+PCs+TVs+Lights etc).
The idea with this inverter is to eventually get another battery and more panels to cover the rest of the house. Alongside this the plan is to replace the stove with gas and install a solar geyser.


Also consider a gas geyser to supplement the solar (when needed) and make sure the pumps, etc (if needed) are connected to the inverter.

You can also get led lights with rechargeable batteries (and other emergency lighting) to ensure that you can still switch on lights


We took my father in law off the grid a couple of years ago. His electrical bill is now around R200 pm and he went bananas. He’s not affected by loadshedding at all.

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Roughly how much would a setup like that cost?

Inverter 12k
Battery 20-21k
350W panels - 2.1k ea - 17k

About 50k for those alone. Then misc things and installation add in another 15-20k (Mounting / brackets / cables / fuses etc).

On further research it may be possible to get away with a 3kVa inverter in my case so that’ll drop to ±7k

It’s a tough bill to consider getting into but seeing that this loadshedding problem appears to be getting worse it seems like it’ll have to start sometime.


Don’t worry, they’ll fix it in 2 years or so

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They are coming tomorrow afternoon to run an assessment on my house to see how big of a system I require. I’ve lost multiple days worth of work due to loadshedding. We had some additional local loadshedding just here in Centurion due to a sub-station catching fire just before national loadshedding started. We were basically running on just one transformer out of the four so they gave each neighbourhood turns to have power.

Anyway, I’m planning to go almost off-grid. Just maybe the stove and certain things remaining with Eskom. The company I’m looking to go through is strongly recommending the Nerada batteries as they have a 12 year design life and 10 hour standby time :thinking:. I remain skeptic even though it is the same batteries that they use in cellphone towers. I’ll have a chat with them tomorrow about it though as I’ve read the warranty document and there are some Ts & Cs to those claims. As long as it lasts me two years though, then I’ll be happy as I’ll be selling my house by then.

From what I’ve learnt from looking at batteries in general is that if you use the batteries every day, the normal batteries should only last about 2.5 years as they only support about 800 cycles. Lithium ion batteries can last for about 10 years if used daily.

@Kwaai, do you have a price on the Pylon 3.5kWh Li-ion battery?


Would you let me know what they tell you as well as quote?

I’ve had a few companies estimate and quote me on going off-grid, after doing my own research I’ve worked out the above which comes in way lower than whatever i’ve been quoted. There’s so much information out there that doesn’t line up and since that post I may be altering my plan slightly again.

I haven’t looked into Nerada batteries yet, but from people I’ve spoken to on MyBB and Carb the pylon has come up more than once. The “normal” batteries that I’ve seen come in a few variants and as support 600-800 cycles on estimate. This is dependent on a 50% Depth of discharge(DOD), any further greatly reduces their lifespan as far as I know. The Pylon being a Li-ion battery in comparison has 4500 cycles with 90% DoD or 6000 cycles with 80% DoD but comes at a price premium. Gauging the use of these batteries on time given is misleading as your usage may not fit the given usage scenario. I’d suggest working out your usage along with the DoD to get an idea.

My understanding is only based on reading and speaking to the people quoting me so I can be way off.
Best price for the Pylon was R19.5±, i’ll have to find the store again.

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I will do that. The price I have so far is R115k (think it is a special) which is for a 5kW Axpert King Inverter, 12x 255w Solar Panels and 8 batteries (includes installation and everything).
We’ll assess my current power usage with something they connect to my house that does readings, but then I’ll query them on the batteries they use as well as the size of the solar panels. Not sure why they’re using 255w when there are larger panels available, but they might have a good reason for it since this is way outside my area of expertise.

Li-ion is better than other batteries any day of the week and this Pylon seems like quite a cheap battery. Prices I found out last year for Tesla was I think around R70k and LG-Chem was around R55k (thumb-sucking here as my memory isn’t that good). Didn’t really know of any other brands until you mentioned this one now. If you could find the store, that would be great (I’ll also check Google). I was planning on getting 8 batteries, but if I can rather get 2x Li-ions at the price of 8 Nerada, that would be a better option if it would work.

The usage based on time is my own estimate based on 1 cycle per day (at 50%). Obviously it is only valid for off-grid and given that there is enough battery power to last the whole evening so that only one cycle per day is needed. If someone has less batteries and they recharge after each loadshedding session (which is multiple times per day), the normal batteries will definitely not see 2 years.

And now it’s almost time for our 2nd loadshedding session for the day :frowning:

Edit: Never mind about the store, found it:


Wow. If a cost like that is to drastically reduce my grid consumption and my bill ends up being only 10% of what it used to be, it would mean that I’d only recoup the costs after 5 years. At that point it would be almost time to start replacing the batteries and, with the way in which Eskom is driving us, would mean many people are going that route and demand would eventually exceed supply. Simple economics says that the prices of batteries will drastically increase, which bill probably mean the batteries will be almost double what they cost around this time.

So yes, I’ve done the math as well and realised that I’ll never get any cost-saving benefit from such an exercise and it would be purely to allow a near uninterrupted supply of electricity. But with the rest of the country living in darkness and some of the services (shops, restaurants, etc) I would want to leverage on a normal basis being unable to trade, I’m wondering whether it would be worth the expense and effort. I’m seriously considering a move abroad at this point in time… I can already see @PsychoFish rubbing his hands gleefully at the prospect of having brain-washed me as to the splendour of living in a first world country.

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Yeah, it won’t be worth it for everyone. I’m losing a lot of work hours though and if I finance that amount on top of my current bond, I should technically save at least R1000 a month (that is after taking the increase in bond repayment into account). In my case, since I’m planning to sell my house in 2 years, I’ll just add this cost on top of my selling price as the solar system increases the value of my property. So I’ll be saving now and recouping the costs later.

I have my solar now for about 2 years and i am saving about 3rd of my usage. mine is grid tied with no batteries. Luckily my meter rolls back so no need for batteries unless I want load shedding protection.

Ok, quote is for R120k incl. VAT.
It includes:

  • 5kw Axpert King Inverter
  • 12x 330W Solar panels
  • 8x 200AH NDF AGM Batteries
  • Cabling, mounting structures, sub db, switchgear, installation and other thingies
  • Maintenance plan where they come inspect the system and wash the panels every 3 months for a year

There is also an option to convert my current 200L geyser to a solar geyser for about R17k so that it run independently and not off this system.

The connected a device to my db board to check my power usage and it came down to about 4kw if I have both computers running, both aircons (18,000 btu and a 12,000 btu), all the lights and fans in the house. Tried to get the geyser to kick in, but I’m not sure if it did. I’ll put the geyser on a timer though so that it only heats during the day and I’ll also ensure that washing / tumble drying is done during the day. Must still see what I’ll do with the dishwasher. Going to get an induction plate and kettle over the weekend.

They install on Wednesday so then hopefully my loadshedding days are behind me. Technically I would need a bigger system to go completely off-grid, but R120k is a good amount seeing that I’m planning to sell the house in about 2 years.


That’s really not bad!
Which company is this?

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Thank you for the update. What made you go with the AGM Batteries?

Do you know which panels they’ll be putting in? What was your estimated time covered for load shedding with this setup?

It’ll be interesting to get your experience once it’s installed.