Why don't my solar cells generate power during loadshedding?

This article explains why a grid-tied solar system has to be switched off during loadshedding events.

Solar energy is a wonderful alternative to traditional power sources, but it’s important to understand how it works. Most of Sun Exchange's solar systems are grid-tied (unless otherwise specified), which means that they are connected to the conventional power grid with no battery attached to the system.

One important aspect of grid-tied solar systems is the effect of loadshedding. Loadshedding is a term used to describe a temporary power outage caused by an insufficient generation capacity on the grid. This is typically done to protect the grid from further damage during times of high demand.

That’s why a grid-tied solar system is disconnected during loadshedding. The grid is much more powerful than a solar system and it acts as a backup source, providing a stable flow of power to meet the energy users consumption needs. If the grid can’t stabilise the power during a power outage, the supply of power from the solar system would vary unpredictably, which could cause damage to equipment and appliances.

Loadshedding events are happening frequently in South Africa currently, with outages of between 6 and 8 hours occurring daily. However, monthly minimum charges to the energy user means that even in the event of a total grid failure, you can expect to receive half of the predicted income for any given month.

To address the increasing frequency of loadshedding events, a lot of new projects coming to the Sun Exchange platform include battery storage. These projects are not impacted by loadshedding and you are paid a fixed amount per month for each solar cell you own in the project, making your earnings more stable and predictable. Projects that have battery integration have the word "storage" in the title. EG: Cape Town Society for the Blind | 53.28 kW Solar + 80 kWh Storage | Cape Town, South Africa

Every solar system we install helps to reduce the likelihood of loadshedding. As each system reduces the overall demand on the grid, it becomes more stable and resilient, reducing the need for loadshedding events.

We understand that this information can be complex, but we hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding of grid-tied solar systems and loadshedding. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help and support you every step of the way!