Types of PV systems

PV technology was first applied in space, by providing electricity to satellites. Today, PV systems can be used to power just about anything on Earth. PV systems operate in two basic forms.

Grid Connect PV Systems – These systems are connected to a broader solar electricity network. During the day, the solar electricity generated by the system is either used immediately or sold off to electricity supply companies. In the evening, when the system is unable to supply immediate power, electricity can be bought back from the network.
Stand-Alone PV Systems – These systems are used in isolation of solar electricity grids, and may be used to power radio repeater stations, telephone booths and street lighting. There is also a growing market for mobile PV in the boat and caravan leisure market. Stand-alone PV systems also provide invaluable and affordable electricity in the developing world, where conventional electricity grids are unreliable or non-existent.

Click here for more information on “ZONNE KRACHT.”

Off grid (standalone) remote solar and wind power systems
We specialize in the design and supply of solar energy and wind power systems for all remote applications and uses including: off-grid residential electricity, remote instrumentation, data acquisition, monitoring, water pumping or remote automation systems. We can design and supply a system to meet your exact needs and that includes all balance-of-system components.

Configurations may include a mixture of possible electrical generating sources, including inverters and batteries. Options include:
– Solar PV modules
– wind turbines
– small hydroelectric generators
– diesel or petrol generators
– hybrid systems comprising of two or more of those mentioned above.

If you are planning to implement a stand-alone or off-grid energy system then you need to download our quick and easy to use energy assessment calculator.
If you really need more information of the design of off-grid energy systems then you should read: Designing standalone systems.

Wind turbine & solar panel combination provides 24 x 7 power for stand-alone and off-grid applications.
Remote power systems are ideal for providing energy to rural properties, holiday homes, alternative power systems and small community power supplies. If you live in an area where there is no electricity and connecting to the electricity grid is not an option, most likely it is far too expensive! The UK is unusual in that it experiences good wind conditions so wind power is certainly viable. Coupled with sunshine, a solar and wind solution provides a reliable, safe, environmentally friendly and user-friendly source of electricity for a very long time. A solar and/or wind power solution will need little maintenance simply because there are no moving parts. Component failure is very rare and come with superb guarantees; solar panels offer a 25 year warranty as standard. Best of all, you are generating your own electricity for free!

With an off grid system you will need somewhere to store the generated electricity and this is usually stored in batteries. The battery bank provides electricity at night, and during periods of cloud cover.
Remote power systems are installed for a range of reasons, including:
– expensive grid connection;
– desire to use renewable energy;
– low running costs;
– environmentally safe – no overhead wires;
– desire for independence from the grid.

Systems can comprise of a stand-alone PV system and wind turbine, solar PV system.
Stand-alone solar (only PV) systems require high availability and so systems are often oversized, to account for long summer short winter sunshine. Over sizing is expensive, but may be necessary for applications in remote areas, On the other hand, house design and orientation, plus a planned maintenance schedule and careful choice of energy sources and appliances are of critical importance.

General suggestions and rules with off-grid systems. Do not use renewable energy sources for:
* cooking – microwave ovens can be used;
* hot water – use proper solar thermal system;
* space heaters;
* clothes drying;
* air-conditioning.

Fridges may be used, but you have to be careful to use only energy efficient appliances.
Note: never leave appliances in standby mode.
The choice between AC and DC Systems
Homes connected to the electricity grid use AC power for all appliances. For remote power systems this may not be the case as DC appliances are very efficient and using DC appliances means that an inverter is not required. DC systems do require heavier cabling and switches and the range of appliances is much smaller.

Do not use incandescent lights for lighting as they are totally hopeless and inefficient. Fluorescent lights are about four times more efficient than IL. LED are also now options to be considered.

Fridges and Freezers
These are energy consumers on a vast scale so choose carefully. Make sure your fridge has an high efficiency rating and choose the smallest one possible to meet your needs. Use a DC fridge if you can.

Microwave ovens
These are the only ovens that should be used with a remote power system. Wood or gas stoves should be considered.

Use only those that connect to both the hot and cold water systems as they use about 30% less energy than those connected to only to the cold water supply with an internal heater. Connection to the hot or cold system is decided upon by how the water is heated. If the remote power system supplies energy to heat the water then connect to the cold water supply. If water is heated by solar thermal system then connect to the hot water system.

Home Entertainment Systems
Even though TV’s, hi-fi systems, videos etc. are low power users they can be used for long periods of time so make sure you are energy efficient.

General Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen can be a nightmare for deciding upon which appliances to use. Think of all the appliances used: kettles, toasters, washing machines, electric knives, microwave ovens, radios, telephone – permanently switched on. A recipe for disaster. If a diesel generator is used for backup or additional power requirements then run the heavy loads in synchronization with the generator. Appliances with electric motors that require heavy starting currents (sometimes up to 5-6 times the rated power use) should not be used with an inverter, but directly from the generator. There are inverters that are able to cope with high transient (start-up) currents and of these only use pure sine wave inverters.

Hybrid System Design

Using a mixture of systems, solar and wind powered systems, there are a number of factors to take into account.
What are the components of an off-grid solar power system?
There are five main components of an off grid system.
– Solar panels and/or wind turbine;
– Solar panel mounting frames and kits;
– controller;
– Battery bank;
– Power Inverter;

A customized system has a lot of options and we can offer a wide range of products to suit all requirements.

Solar vertical wind turbine


BSWT is a vertical wind turbine based on sailing engineering. The wind rotor is rotated by two spiral-formed vanes. For best performance, these vanes are covered in solar cells, so that sun and wind produce electricity as one element. The BSWT installation costs relatively little, produces no noise or significant shadowing, can be easily maintained from ground level, and is an attractive addition to any home.

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