Building a solar system is not a trivial exercise of buying different solar components and then wiring them together. Solar systems must be properly designed to work efficiently. This means selecting the right type of components, right sizing the components, wiring them together correctly, selecting proper wire sizes and disconnects and properly protecting the system. Getting one aspect of this process wrong and the system will not perform properly.
The first step in the design process is to determine the daily energy requirements in terms of consumption (Watt-hours or kW-h) and peak demand (Watt or kilowatt). However, it is not sufficient to only consider historic energy usage – one must also consider ways to reduce consumption. Since the size and therefore cost of a solar system is proportional to the amount of energy it should supply, significant capital savings can be affected by reducing usage through the implementation of energy savings measures. In most cases the capital saving far outweigh the cost of energy saving measures. Energy savings considerations therefore goes hand-in-hand with the design of solar systems. Typical energy savings measures include replacing incandescent or compact fluorescent lights (CFL) with LED lights, replacing old type TVs, fridge/freezers and air conditioning units with new energy efficient types, replacing electrical geysers with heat pumps or solar water heaters and replacing electrical stoves with gas stoves.
After determining the required daily energy consumption, one must determine insolation throughout the year. This is dependent on geographical location and orientation of the solar array. Using this information, one can then determine the required size of the solar array, factoring in battery and inverter in-efficiencies. The next step is to select the right size and type of inverter and solar charger after which one must size the battery bank.
The whole design process is an iterative process that can best be executed with the aid of computer programs. Sunray uses industry-standard, state-of-the-art computer programs to predict insolation at any location on earth. This information, together with the energy requirements, is then used to size the solar array and other system components. Sunray has also developed its own computer programs to train technical staff and to offer a consultancy service to customers. These programs are well tested and validated against industry-standard programs.
It is important to mention that Sunray not only applies the above approach to property design systems but also to optimise the designs to maximise return on investment.
Sunray offers solar training courses geared towards technical sales staff, electricians, technicians and engineers covering a large range of topics such as photovoltaics, inverters, battery technology, wiring and design of solar systems. The curriculum is based on the structure of leading overseas solar training courses and are presented by graduate engineers with many years’ experience in the solar and power generation industries.
Sunray Partner Program (SPP)
This program is open to Zambian businesses and/or individuals who currently sell, or intend to sell solar products. Applicants must be a registered Zambian business or individual who is selling or intending to sell solar products, with an active Zambian Bank Account with any of the Major banks. Applicants must agree to Sunray’s Terms and Conditions, and successfully complete Sunray’s Basic Solar Training Course within 3 months after registration.
Benefits of becoming a Sunray Partner:
- All levels of partners receive a discount on products, which varies according to the Partner level.
- Sunray partners are listed on Sunray’s website and Facebook page
- Sunray’s vast experience is at partners' disposal
- Partners are given access to Sunray’s web portal, which gives them access to the latest up to date price-lists, design tools, marketing material, information, product brochures as well as live stock levels and their online order platform
- Partners get access to Sunray’s product line-up and benefit from their extensive testing and market research. This includes the entire range of Victron Products which Sunray stocks in Lusaka.
- Sunray will make professionally designed marketing material available to all levels of Partners.
- Sunray will also share a special Dropbox folder with information, circulars, pre-designed kits, firmware updates, downloadable price-lists and other technical information.