Top 8 mistakes that cause solar system failure in zimbabwe! and what to do instead

Top 6 Solar Mistakes

According to a study done by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, 90% of solar system owners in Zimbabwe are not happy or their systems fail within the first 2 years and are under perfoming. Learning from their mistakes will help you prevent similar agony.

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These are the top 8 reasons why they fail:

1. Poor Quality Imports

  • The majority of solar products used in Zimbabwe are imported mostly from China, Botswana, USA and South Africa.
  • The reason why some do not use reputable brands is because usually salesmen who mislead homeowners when they select products. It is difficult for homeowners to differentiate quality solar brands from counterfeits since both high quality manufactures and low quality manufacturers come from the same countries.
  • If your solar system is to be done correctly you have to buy quality because even if warranty applies, shipping products back at your own cost is often more expensive than purchasing new solar panels, batteries or inverters.

NB. 1timesolar recommends that you use only Tier 1 Solar panels with a 25 year output guarantee and 10 year structural guarantee and reliable battery and inverter manufacturers.

2. Unqualified Pv system installers

  • There is lack of correct solar system sizing as homeowners sometimes are guided by shop and hardware salesmen pushing sales who lack an understanding and experience in designing and properly installing solar systems. Instead of design , there is usually phrases like, ‘ufuna ephakamisani? or ‘unoda inosimudza chii’ then they quickly select and sell you the products.
  • Some qualified installers do not tell it like it is to make solar look more attractive they exaggerate what the system can do leaving the customer to figure out reality after  they have already payed.
  • Solar systems are specific to the appliances you use and the number of hours you use them for per day, so one-size-fits-all quotes maybe an indication of poor quality installations.
  • Some installers are often not honest about how long installation takes so when under pressure from customers they end up Cutting corners with rushed installations or unqualified staff, resulting in unsafe installations.
  • Some panels are installed facing the wrong directions and at wrong roof tilt angle, its usual to see to see 2 similar solar systems facing different directions in the same neighborhood.

NB. 1timesolar recommends that you check with past customers to find out about their experiences with your chosen installer, find out what qualifications they hold (are they registered electricians and certified ZERA Solar Photo-Voltaic System Installers).

3. Misinformation by suppliers selling second hand batteries as new

Some systems fail within 2 years primarily because of storage failure, second hand solar deep cycle batteries are sold to clients without their knowledge as ‘new’ without informing customers resulting in premature system failure.

4. Overload of inverter and fridge undersizing

  • If you overload your inverter you reduce its design life and may cause internal electronic faults especially in modern inverters.
  • In solar you can only use half of the money in your bank, hence if your system is undersized and you use all of the energy you store your system especially the batteries will last only 3 times less their normal time.
  • The fridge is usually the biggest consumer of the energy you produce, if its undersized, this may affect the whole system.

NB. Use deep cycle Solar batteries as normal car batteries cannot be used with solar as they are designed to only provide quick bursts of high energy.

5. Lack of perfomance monitoring

  • One of the biggest solar myths is maintenance free, truth of the matter all great things must be defended by regular system monitoring and tests to make sure they are operating correctly, according to their  design specifications and to help detect problems early.

6. Incorrect solar angles

  • The of tilt of the solar panels and compass direction they face is very important as if they are  incorrectly positioned they result  in generation of sometimes less than half of normal solar panel power produced.
  • Some homes and building have tall trees or objects which may obstruct the sun from direct view of the panels resulting in low production or total loss of power generation

If you need help contact 1timesolar for successful solar systems design and installation!

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