4 tips for choosing and insuring the most reliable backup power system for outages in SA

We know how frustrating it can feel dealing with the non-stop outages in our day-to-day life as South Africans. If you’re considering getting insurance for your solar system, inverter or generator, we’ve got you covered with some essential info on how to choose the correct supplier for your backup power system.

1. Finding the Right Supplier to protect you from outages

When it comes to choosing a solar supplier, here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

  1. Experience Matters: Look for a supplier with a solid track record as a solar installer. You want someone who knows their way around those shiny panels!
  2. Licensed Electricians: Make sure they have qualified electricians with all the necessary registrations and licenses.
  3. Let Them Do Their Homework: A good supplier will conduct a site visit and provide a simulation or feasibility study of the electricity production estimate for a year. They’ll consider factors like weather conditions and the size of the solar components needed (panels, inverters, batteries) to meet your business consumption needs. They’ll basically crunch the numbers for you!
  4. Regulations: Your supplier should have a good understanding of Eskom’s regulations, municipal by-laws, and the NERSA registration process. 
  5. Peace of Mind: Don’t forget to ask if they can supply warranties and guarantees for the installation. You want that extra layer of assurance, right?
  6. Get It Certified: Make sure they can provide a certificate of compliance (COC) signed off by a qualified electrician. And hey, having a professional engineer certify the installation will give you extra comfort for insurance purposes. Safety first, folks!

2. Determining the size of your backup power system

This will depend on what you are looking to achieve for instance reduce your electricity bill, survive load shedding, or become independently from the grid.

  • Solar Panels: Check your monthly electricity statements or install temporary meter readers at your premises to get an idea of your business’s average monthly electricity usage. The more energy you require, the more solar panels you’ll need – simple as that!
  • Inverter: The size of the inverter depends on the number of panels installed. You might want to consider installing a larger inverter that can handle additional panels in the short to medium term. Future-proofing, anyone?
  • Batteries: If you’re only aiming to reduce your monthly electricity bill, batteries might not be necessary. But if you want to avoid load shedding or become less reliant on the grid, you’ll need more batteries. The battery capacity should be enough to cover your energy requirements for a specific duration, like 2-4 hours of load shedding. Let’s keep those lights on!

3. Understanding Grid-Tied, Hybrid, and Off-Grid Systems

  • Grid-Tied: If your goal is simply reducing your monthly electricity bill, a grid-tied system with solar panels and an inverter (that charges when the grid is back on) or a generator can help you achieve that goal. It’s like plugging into savings!
  • Hybrid Solution: This system includes solar panels, an inverter, and batteries. But hey, you can swap out the batteries for a generator if you prefer. These systems are still connected to the grid, so you can rely on it when needed.
  • Off-Grid System: These systems run independently of electricity supplied by public suppliers. They’re larger, with more solar panels, and require extra power storage in the form of batteries or generators. It’s like living off the grid, but with a sustainable twist!

4. What are some of the regulations/requirements that I should be aware of when installing a backup power system?

  1. Section 12B of the Income Tax Act
    As of 2016, the amended section 12B allows for the accelerated depreciation of renewable energy assets.
  2. Registration of grid-tied systems
    When you instal a grid-tied system, you will need to register and request approval from your municipality.
  3. NERSA registration
    Registration with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) is required for all systems up to 100MW.
  4. Battery regulations
    The majority of regulations in South Africa regarding batteries are written for backup power applications, namely uninterrupted power supplies (UPS).  International battery energy storage standards are currently being updated.
  5. NRS097
    This defines standards with which equipment, such as inverters, need to comply. Ensuring that your inverters are NRS097 compliant will provide clarity on the quality and warranty of your inverters.

For more detailed information on the installation of your backup power system please get in touch with us at insurance@curemed.co.za 

We are always here for you!


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