By Inus Dreckmeyr, CEO at Netshield South Africa

If you are looking to generate electricity from a solar power-based renewable energy (RE) solution there a few things you need to consider before you spend a cent. There are plenty of companies out there waiting to dupe you into buying expensive solutions that are wrong for your environment or that have large price tags, but are poor quality.

Netshield wants you to have the correct solution that lasts and gives you a tangible Return On Investment (ROI) faster. Which is why we urge you to do the research and careful planning that’s necessary before the implementation of a solar energy solution, in fact we can even help you do it and provide you with a bespoke solution that fits your environment and your budget.

The foundation
A RE solution should increase the reliability of your power while simultaneously reducing the cost of your electrical bill. So the first thing you should do is evaluate how much power you are consuming, which will determine how energy efficient your home or business is.

Once you know that, you’ll be able to see where you are using excessive amounts of energy unnecessarily and implement a strategy to save power by, for example, turning off plugs not in use or remembering to switch certain appliances off when they aren’t in use. You can also replace legacy equipment that may be guzzling energy and add solar energy solutions where you can.

The most important reason to plan, is so that you buy the right solution for your needs and ultimately, get to the ROI faster. Take the time to talk to an expert that can help you choose the right products so that you get the most out of your solution. As an example, if you have a solar energy solution in which the solar panels are static, you are not maximising the usefulness of the solution.

Static solar panels will only collect maximum energy when they are perpendicular to the sun, but if you add the Netshield NPVT5 dual-axis solar tracker to your solar panel array, you could increase its sun harvest by up to 45%.

So what’s the big deal?
If you want to generate as much energy as possible from your solar panels, I recommend adding our solar tracker, or sunflower as I call it, to your solar energy solution. I call it a sunflower because this dual-axis solar tracker behaves just like one, following the sun vertically and horizontally around the sky during the day, so that it’s permanently perpendicular to it and thus, permanently collecting the maximum amount of solar energy that’s available.

A static solar panel array is not giving you the value for money that you could derive from your solar energy solution. There are times of the day, like the early morning and late afternoon, where a static solar array would not be collecting any energy, but the sun can be just 10˚ above the horizon and the available energy would already be about half the noon-time levels. The sun’s misalignment with a fixed panel makes it impossible to collect a reasonable proportion of the available energy but with a solar tracker the proportion of energy derived from direct radiation is higher.

What does this mean for you? It means that you will see an increase in the amount of energy produced by your solar energy solution as well as a reduction in costs, which is ideally the goal of a RE solution.

The NPVT5 is accurate, high performance, easily installed and can be remotely monitored through SMS’s, positioned and controlled through Netshield’s remote monitoring solutions. Depending on the size of a panel each solar tracker can carry 5.5 Kilowatts (kW) – 7.4kW. Its motor runs infrequently and well below load limits and its functional design guarantees at least 25 years’ functioning.

All components are pre-drilled and ready-to-assemble and no sheet metal screws or field welding is required. The tracker has a hot dipped galvanized steel structure and is capable surviving wind gust loads of 150km/h, however it is programmed to stow at 13m/s.

Our offering
With Netshield you don’t just get the product, you get a partner in RE. We can design a bespoke solution to fit your unique requirements, whether it’s for your home or business and you will gain access to our services that are designed to assist and support you in your RE journey.

The first steps are a site evaluation and feasibility studies that include energy requirement calculations, solar system performance and costs evaluation. We will also assist you with electrical design to reduce the total amount of energy being consumed in your environment.

We also offer remote monitoring of solar power plants to ensure maximum power generation and 99% uptime. In addition, we can add on-site webcams to ensure that the power plant is performing optimally, live monitoring of the solar power system via our web-based Site Viewer as well as a team of our staff to monitor the system at the site every day.

You will receive live updates and performance reports around kilowatt/hour data and real-time power plant email updates showing the status of all trackers. Netshield will run periodic system scans to ensure performance, remotely update the tracking system software and schedule trackers for regular wash mode to achieve maximum power generation.

Let us assist you in finding and creating a RE solution that is perfect for your environment and fits your budget. You won’t be sorry.