Setting it up
Sunday night 7pm and the kids are glued to their iPads, in the dark. We were caught unawares, and a loadshedding spree from 7 to 9:30 left us without supper, television and light. Luckily the iPads were charged. Ironically we were all set to watch Carte Blanche as there was a piece on kids and technology and what the long term effects were. Instead, we handed over the iPads to the two young ones, lit some candles, put our headlamps on and considered our options for dinner. We weren’t too fussed, as tomorrow was our installation.
When the Genergy team arrived I was happy to tell them all about my loadshedding experience the night before. They smiled, as they had heard it all before. Most of the people on the team had their own little systems in place, with a Photovoltaic panel or two in place, as well as an inverter. Mine was to be a 5kW inverter with a 3.6kwh battery bank, including two photovoltaic panels with micro inverters. Read more about it here http://genergy.co.za/computer-says-no/
It was now time to use the sun.
The team set about installing the solar panels first. We set it up in a way that would allow us to add more panels. The plan was to eventually have the north facing roof covered in photovoltaic panels, so we set up the first two in a way that we could just add more panels to the lines. Even while carrying the panels up the ladder the lights started flashing, as they started feeling the sun. This was going to be good.
It didn’t take Herman and his team long to put the panels up, to connect them and to route the cables to my board. The electrical team, on the other hand, had a bit of a mission on their hands. My requests were very specific. My energy needs during loadshedding were: the lights, the main television in the lounge, the television in the bedroom, the house alarm, the Internet and modem, the fridge, and some plug points in the office. The main drama during loadshedding was the fact that we both work from home, and any time without power means lost income. The office needed power to keep the laptops going, and we needed some light. We had no use for power to the stove as we run off gas, and nothing else was important. The very fact that we could have television, power and lights seemed like a ridiculous treat. Isn’t that weird, creating a way to store energy so that we could circumvent the incompetence at Eskom feels like a treat. Doesn’t sound right, does it?
Dewald the electrician and his team had their work cut out for them, having to trace the circuitry and rework a secondary board that was to only have my loadshedding necessities on it. There was a lot of wiring and trunking to be done, and by the end of day one of the installation there was still a bit to do. Unbelievably, Eskom played by the rules for the first time since about 1983 and decided to not have load shedding in my area that night. The teams would return the next day for The Big Switch On.