Home Solar Systems
The solar power panels we install typically fall into one of three categories of systems:
For specific details about these systems simply click the links above. For more general information about our solar system installation services please see some frequently asked questions below:
1) How long has Sokolic Solar been operating for?
Sokolic Solar was formed in 2008, in the days when there were not many solar companies around. Over this period we have streamlined our products and have partnered with the best component suppliers. We install high quality imported batteries, and only use microprocessor based controllers for maximum power efficiency and extended battery life. All our workmanship is guaranteed and most of our components come with a full 3 year factory warranty. We also source quality locally manufactured components in our efforts to support local industry.
2) I have to pay a lot of money and a deposit, how do I know this is safe?
All of our installations require a deposit, or payment in full if you want a discount. We have to operate like this because every installation is designed uniquely for you, and the components are ordered or built just for you. If we have to pay for your goods and you cancel the order, our business will have to carry this cost. We have many clients who are willing to act as references, so please contact us if you would like to chat with some of them.
3) I have had a solar installer do some work for me, and they did not do the job properly.
Sokolic Solar specializes in fixing up bad installations. There are now so many solar businesses popping up, jumping onto the bandwagon, who do not know what they are doing. We have been around for some time and have completed many installations, and we get many referrals from our older customers. We are often called in to fix up installations done badly by other solar companies. We can certainly help you.
4) I have a holiday home in the mountains, far from any town and quite inaccessible, where can I fine someone to install solar in such a remote place?
Our main line of business is installing solar power in remote rural areas. We specialize in farms, holiday houses, and getaway farms, in areas where there is no eskom available. We cover the entire Western Cape region.
5) My monthly eskom bill is so high, and each year it gets higher, how can I bring this down?
We can also help you take your home off the eskom grid, or we can install a hybrid system where you can still use eskom as a backup, and use the sun to provide most of your power, bringing your eskom bill down.
If you have a factory or warehouse that has a very high monthly electricity bill, we can install a grid tied system with panels on your roof, which will bring your monthly bill down drastically. We also install a small entry level system on suburban homes for just your lights. This is cost effective, can save you money every month, and more importantly it will keep your lights on in the event of an eskom power failure. You can also plug small critical items onto this system such as cellphone chargers, your internet router and your laptop so your business can stay operational.
6) What is the lifespan of a solar system?
Normally solar panels have a working lifespan of around 25 years. After this, they start deteriorating, just like anything left in the sun for too long. After 25 years their production output drops, so you can expect after this period that they will start to only make 80% power. Each year thereafter this drops.
A good quality charge controller, or regulator, can last many years, even decades.
The inverter, if not constantly overloaded, can also give you many years of usage. The cheaper inverters could last for 10 years while the better quality ones can work for decades.
Batteries are always the first items to go in a solar system. If you decide to go for cheap batteries, you may only get a few years out of them. If you can afford it, get good quality lead crystal batteries, which will save you money in the long run and ensure uninterrupted power. Lead crystal batteries can work for up to 18 years.
7) What maintenance is required on my solar system?
Normally the only maintenance required is on the batteries. You should check your water levels every few months and top up with distilled battery water if necessary. If you install lead crystal batteries there is no maintenance.
8) Can I install a DIY solar system?
If you have a technical or practical background, you should be able to install your own solar system quite easily. The hardest part of the installation is the mounting and the wiring of the panels on the roof, which should be done securely and in the correct orientation.
9) Will my solar system still make power if its raining or cloudy?
Yes, as long as it is daytime, even with rain and clouds there is always some filtered sunlight coming through, that is why its not pitch black during the day in bad weather. You can expect to generate around 10 or even up to 20% of the power in bad weather. In bad weather its always advisable not to use heavy power appliances, and only use essential items, unless you have a backup generator, or even a wind turbine that can produce power in bad weather, but only if the wind is blowing.
10) How long does it normally take to reach a break even point, when comparing eskom power to solar power?
Typically it takes around 7 years before you have broken even, and from that point on its all free power, with no power failures. On a grid tied system the payback time is shorter.
11) What is the difference between modified sinewave and pure sinewave inverters?
We only install pure sinewave inverters for homes. They cost considerably more than modified units, but they produce 100% clean power. A modified sinewave inverter makes whats sometimes termed “dirty power” , the power curve is always changing and it can damage sensitive electrical equipment like computers, TV’s etc. A modified sinewave inverter can sometimes make your radio crackle.
12) A solar system is a lot of money to install initially, is there finance available?
We can arrange finance for large Grid Tied systems, but small systems for homes could either be financed by using your existing access bond, as it does add value to your home, or you could consider a personal loan from your bank. Eskoms yearly increases will probably be higher than your interest that you pay back on your loan.
13) What is the difference between a grid tied system and an off grid system?
A grid tied solar system costs significantly less than an off grid system. This is because it has no batteries and no regulator. Therefore, you can only use the power that is made during sunlight hours. When the sun sets, you automatically use power from eskom again. Even if you make more power than what you use, this gets wasted. Eskom are hopefully going to allow us shortly to be send any excess power back into the grid, and you will get credits for this on your meter, to use as free power at night. A grid tied system will not work if there is an eskom power failure, as it is tied into the grid.
An off grid system stores any excess power you generate, into a battery bank, so you can use this power at night, or when there is an eskom power failure. It is considerably more expensive due to the batteries.