Complete Solar Power Kits

Load Shedding Kits: A Complete Guide

Load Shedding: a word that we know all too well in South Africa, and for many of us, it causes stress and anger.

There is a solution out there: Load Shedding Kits.

In this guide, we’ll go through all there is to know about them, how they work, what they include, how they are installed etc.

Contents:

Chapter 1

What Is Load Shedding?

Understanding

In a nutshell, load shedding is implemented when user demand is greater than the available power supply.

Failure to shed some of that load could result in an unbalancing of the load and possible damage to our power generators, which will lead to heavier load shedding.

As frustrating as it is, it does play an essential role in the maintenance and the health of our grid.

What Is Load Shedding
Chapter 2

Load Shedding Solutions

What are the options?

There are a number of load shedding solutions out there so I’ll break them down, listing their pros and cons.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll stick to residential solutions.

UPS

UPS Icon
A UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) is a relatively small piece of equipment that will enable you to keep simple appliances running like your modem, computer and charge your phone.

Pros

  • Least Expensive
  • No need for Installation

Cons

  • Not expandable
  • Can only run small appliances

Load Shedding Unit

Load Shedding Unit Icon
Load Shedding Units are usually a box with an inverter and battery inside them. They are typically larger in battery capacity than the UPS and range from 1 – 4kW.

Pros

  • Portable
  • No installation required

Cons

  • Not expandable
  • Heavy

Built-In Load Shedding Kit

Built-In Load Shedding Kit
Built-in kits are larger than the two solutions mentioned previously and consist of an inverter, batteries and a peripheral kit.

Pros

  • Run more appliances
  • Built-in system
  • Expandable
  • Add solar later

Cons

  • More expensive
Chapter 3

Load Shedding Kits vs Solar Power Kits

To panel or not to panel

This is a common question that many who visit our site to remedy the load shedding situation in their homes.

Load Shedding Kit

Load Shedding Kit

Load Shedding Kit Includes
  • Inverter
  • Battery
  • Peripherals
  • Solar Panels

Solar Power Kit

Load Shedding Kit

Solar Power Kit Includes
  • Inverter
  • Battery
  • Peripherals
  • Solar Panels
So they are nearly the same, the only difference being the absence or presence of solar panels.

A great piece of information to note is that if your budget restricts you from installing a Solar Power Kit, you can install a Load Shedding Kit and add solar panels at a later stage.

Many of our clients have done this as it keeps their power on during grid failure, and in a year or two, they decide to add solar panels. It’s 100% doable and a great way to start small and grow as you need to.

To learn more about Solar Power Kits, read our: Solar Power Kits Guide

Chapter 4

Kit Includes

What’s in the box?

Let’s quickly recap what role each piece of equipment plays and why they are necessary.

Solar Inverter

Inverter White
Solar panels produce and batteries store DC (Direct Current) power which is unusable by our AC (Alternating Current) appliances.
The inverter will convert DC to AC and AC to DC power to be stored and used as needed.
Read our Solar Inverter Guide

Solar Battery Bank

Battery White
The battery bank is where you store harvested power to use when there is no alternative power supply. Or when there is no solar power being produced.
Read our Solar Battery Guide

Peripherals

LSK Peripheral Kit
Peripheral kits include isolator switches, battery cables and wiring. All of these items are essential to installing a load shedding kit correctly and safely.

NB: The contents of the peripheral kit are a safety standard to protect your system from damage and protect your home, family members, and any electricians needing to work on your system. They cut the flow of electricity to that particular piece of equipment, making it safe to work on if needed.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about solar inverters and batteries, watch these videos:

Solar Inverter Types - The Basics | Solar Advice
Lithium-Ion Batteries | What you need to know!
Chapter 5

How do the Kits work?

AC/DC

Our homes need AC power to run our appliances but our batteries store DC power.

The inverter will pull AC power from the grid convert it to DC power which will be stored in your battery bank. Then the inverter will convert the DC power stored in your battery into AC power and feed the converted power into your home via your DB.

A Load Shedding Kit will only be used when there is no grid supply.

The battery will not be cycled at night like with Solar Power Kits because the power stored is for emergency backup.

It’s pointless to cycle a battery that has harvested power from the grid if you have grid supply.

How Do The Kits Work
Chapter 6

Kit Costs

What to expect

Equipment Costs

Kit Costs Icon
Kits start at around R30,000 and go up to around R80,000.

The price is determined by the brand of the equipment you want and the number of batteries you require.

The better the quality, the higher the price.

Installation Costs

Installation Costs Icon
You can expect the installation to cost you around R9,000.
This cost excludes pre-existing electrical issues. But it includes splitting your distribution board, installation of the equipment and wiring.

You will also get a CoC (Certificate of Compliance), which is required by law on the completion of the installation.

Chapter 7

Installation: What to Expect

From start to finish

How to Choose an Installer

First and foremost, the potential installer must be a registered electrician with the Department of Labour. A PV GreenCard is most definitely a bonus, but it is not required by law yet.

Word of mouth is usually a great way to find a reputable installer. Google reviews and HelloPeter are also great places to see what previous clients thought of them.

There are a lot of “installers” who say they can do the job cheaper but remember, you get what you pay for.

The installation is just as important as the equipment, and if they are not installed correctly, you will lose your warranties, which means you’ll lose your money, and we will not be able to help you.

How Long Does Installation Take?

The installation of a Load Shedding Kit will take around 1-2 working days, depending on any issues.

Ask For A Site Inspection

Your chosen installer should perform a site inspection prior to the installation date so that they can make sure that the kit you have bought or are wanting to buy is the correct sized kit for your needs.

A site inspection will also prepare the installation team for any possible snags that may occur.

A good installer will always insist on a site inspection.

Where Should My Load Shedding Kit Be Installed?

Ideally, your inverter and batteries should be installed in your garage or somewhere where the noise of the equipment will not bother your day to day life.

The equipment should also install somewhere cool and free of dust and debris.

Some inverters can be installed outside, but they need to be covered to protect them from the rain and sun.

What To Check After Installation

You will need to ensure that all of your equipment is working and working well. Ask the installer to show you that everything is up and running.

Check that your installer has used trunking to protect and cover all of your cabling. There should be no exposed wires or cables.

A COC (certificate of compliance) is required, by law, when any electrical work is carried out. You must receive a COC from your installer. It may take up to a week to receive your certificate, but please make sure you get one.

If your load shedding kit or home become damaged due to an incorrect installation and you have not received a COC, your insurance will not payout. We will also not be able to help you further.

Chapter 8

How to pick the right kit for you

From start to finish

Load Shedding Solutions - The Options that work best!
Picking the right Load Shedding Kit is vital because you don’t want to install a system and realise it’s too small or that the set-up as a whole may not meet your requirements in the future.

In this section, we’ll go through strategies for goals that you may have for the future and which kits would best suit these goals.

I want backup power, no solar

Goal:

If your goal is to only have backup for when the grid is down and you have no intention of producing solar power at a later stage.

Strategy:

An Off-Grid solar inverter, preferably with a UPS is the way to go.

Alternative:

You can also have a Hybrid Inverter but in the interest of saving money, the Off-Grid Inverter will work just as well for you as you do not need the blending capabilities of a Hybrid Inverter.

Pros:

  • Off-Grid Inverters are the most affordable inverters.
  • Installation costs are less than that of the Solar Power Kits.
  • The battery bank is expandable.

Cons:

  • Can be quite noisy so bear that in mind if you are installing this system within your home.

I want back up now and add solar later

Goal:

To slowly transform your load shedding kit into a solar power kit in the future.

Strategy:

A Hybrid is a perfect inverter for you. Hybrid Inverters blend power from all sources which means that you will be using all your produced solar power, even if you aren’t producing enough solar energy to power your essential appliances.

Alternative:

A high voltage Off-Grid Inverter, again, preferably with a UPS will work but, it’s important to remember that they do not blend power sources. If you are not producing enough solar power to supply your demand, the system will switch over to grid supply and you will lose out on that solar energy produced.

Pros:

  • The blending capabilities of the Hybrid Inverter are beneficial to helping you save money.
  • They are quieter than off-grid inverters and can be installed outside undercover.
  • Slowly building your system is financially appealing.
  • The battery bank is expandable.

Cons:

  • You will need to pay an additional installation fee for the installation of the solar panels.
  • Hybrid Inverters are more expensive than Off-Grid Inverters.
Chapter 9

Sizing a Battery Bank

The how to

For Solar Power Kits we ask how much electricity per month you use but, the best way to figure out what size battery bank you’ll need in your Load Shedding Kit is to find out what appliances you want to run.

Most of us want to run our TVs, lights, modem, fridge, charge a couple of laptops and mobile phones during load shedding.

The best way to go about this is to find the power ratings of the appliances you want to run during load shedding and add their ratings up.

Sizing a Battery Bank

Example Appliances

  • 2 x 120W TV – 240W
  • 10 x 10W Lights – 100W
  • 1 x 10W Modem – 10W
  • 1 x 250W Fridge freezer – 250W
  • 2 x 40W Laptop chargers – 80W
  • 3 x 20W Phone chargers – 60W

Total: 740W

The Answer

Now you’ll take your 740W and times that by the two and a half hours of load shedding:

740W x 2.5hours = 1850Wh or 1.85kWh.

You’ll need a pretty small battery like a 2.4kWh battery for the chosen appliances.

TIP

Be mindful of what appliances you are running during load shedding. You may be able to get away with making a cup of tea but depending on the size of your battery and what you are running, you may deplete your battery too quickly.
Rather, make your tea before or after load shedding to avoid draining your battery too quickly.

Chapter 10

Understanding the Terms

This is important

Now, there are some things to consider when buying a battery. Namely:

  • DOD
  • Cycles
  • Warranty

Each of these items should be looked at seriously to determine what battery you should buy. They are the next important step after figuring out what size battery bank you need.

DOD Icon

DOD (Depth Of Discharge)

Lithium-ion batteries typically have a DOD of 80 – 100%, which means you can use 80 – 100% of the battery’s capacity.

EG:
4.8kWh x 80% DOD = 3.84kWh
4.8kWh x 95% DOD = 4.56kWh

So, if your 2.5-hour load shedding needs are 2.4kWh, a 2.4kWh battery at 80% DOD is not going to see you through.

Cycles Icon

Cycles

One cycle is a full charge and discharge. Most Lithium-ion batteries have 6,000 cycles, but some have as low as 4,500 and as high as 10,000.

Theoretically, if you cycle your 6000 cycle battery once a day, you’ll get 6000 days (16.44 years) of use out of it.

Warranty Icon

Warranty

Some manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty from the date of purchase, and others offer seven years with the ability to extend it to 10 years on registration of the product.

Others offer five years. It’s all relative to your wants and needs.

Chapter 11

Battery Mounting

Floor, wall or rack-mounted

Another deciding factor on what battery to buy will depend on where and how you’d like to store them.

Wall-Mounted

Wall-Mounted Icon
If the installation site has minimal space, I highly recommend getting a wall-mounted battery. It keeps the floor space clear and saves space.

Similarly, if you have the space but prefer the aesthetics of a wall-mounted battery, get one.

The wall-mounted batteries will be mounted next to your inverter for an overall neat installation.

These batteries can be paralleled too.

Rack-Mounted

Rack-Mounted Icon
Rack-mounted batteries can be bought in smaller sized battery modules which all fit neatly into a cabinet.

You can add more batteries if you need them and they’ll all fit into a cabinet or cabinets.

The smaller battery models like the PylonTech or Dyness batteries are cheaper per module than say a wall-mounted 4.8kWh battery.

However, these cabinets will need to have floor space. They cannot be moved around as they are incredibly heavy if they have batteries inside them.

Floor-Mounted

Floor-Mounted Icon
Floor-mounted batteries look very similar to wall-mounted batteries. The internal components are housed in a neat looking box.

The batteries are mounted on the floor, similar to the rack-mounted batteries but a cabinet is not required. Additionally, they are not as deep as the cabinets for the rack-mounted batteries so they take up less floor space.

This is a great alternative to rack-mounted batteries if you’re looking to save space.

These batteries can also be paralleled.

Chapter 12

Why choose a Load Shedding Kit?

The breakdown

Whether we like it or not, load shedding is here to stay.

So preparing ourselves and our homes to cater to it is something that we must all consider if we can.

  • More affordable
  • Expandable
  • Quick & easy installation
  • Gives you emergency power
  • Comes with everything you need for installation
  • Efficient
  • Safe

Load Shedding Kits will also allow you to convert your solar solution later by adding Solar Panels, which is something to consider, mainly due to our unreliable grid and the ever-rising prices of electricity.

It is also worth mentioning that Solar Power is a source of renewable energy which makes it very reliable and green!

Load Shedding Kits
Chapter 13

Contact Us

Got a question?

If you have any questions about Load Shedding Kits or our other products and services, please feel free to contact us. We are here to give you the best advice on all solar-related queries
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