FAQ

 This section lists some frequently asked questions.

  • Do I really need a solar (PV) system?

With the threat of Climate Change looming over the horizon, it makes environmental sense for everyone in Seychelles to install a solar (PV) system on our home or business. It also makes financial sense, especially if your PUC bill is quite high. However, before you consider investing in a solar (PV) system, you need to look at the ways you use energy and how you can reduce your consumption through energy-efficient technologies and energy conservation. 

  • How does net-metering work?

A net-metering program was established in 2013 to promote of the use of renewable energy in both residential and commercial sectors. Energy produced from your solar (PV) system is offset against the energy that you have consumed from the utility Grid. If you consumed more energy than that produced by your solar photovoltaic (PV) system, then you will pay PUC the net consumption at the prevailing tariff rate. On the other hand, if your solar (PV) system produces more than you consume (i.e. surplus energy is fed into the Grid), then PUC will pay you for every unit in excess at a rate of 88% of the prevailing fuel-marginal cost. The remaining 12% accounts for energy dissipated in the grid during energy transfer from the customer's RE system to other parts of the grid.

For more information please refer to the press release from PUC.

  • Is there a feed-in tariff?

At present, there is no feed-in tariff scheme in place in Seychelles. 

  • Is panel orientation important?

Most solar (PV) systems are mounted on racks in a fixed position, usually on a rooftop and don’t have the capability to follow (track) the sun throughout the day. With this in mind, the best orientation in the Southern Hemisphere is usually due north. However, there are site-specific exceptions to the rule. For example, if you live near a forested area and your roof is in the shade for part of the day, then favouring another orientation may result in better production from your solar (PV) system.

The orientation of your PV system will affect your energy production (www.thesolarplanner.com)

NOTE: Since Seychelles is located only 4o south of the Equator, panel orientation isn’t as important as tilt angle.

  • Is panel tilt important?

For Seychelles, a solar PV system works most efficiently at a 5° angle, but most manufacturers recommend 10-15° angle to reduce the accumulation of dust and allow for rainwater run-off thus reducing the need for frequent manual cleaning. Yet, most roofs in the Seychelles are built with a steep angle  (around 40°). This is not ideal for a PV installation. In fact, a study under the GOS/UNDP/GEF PV Rooftop Project has shown that installing the PV array at 40° tilt angle represents an 11% reduction in power output!

 

The angle (tilt) of your PV system will affect you r energy production (www.hi-globe.com)

NOTE: SEC reserves the right to enforce a maximum tilt angle for solar (PV) installation under the Government programmes (see Government incentives).

  • Are there any restrictions/limitations I should be aware of?

No sun = No power

Your solar (PV) system will NOT work at night as there is no sunlight to generate electricity. It will also be less efficient on cloudy or rainy days. You will therefore need to be connected to the National Grid to use PUC power at night or set-up a costly energy storage system such as battery if you want to go off-Grid. Please discuss your options with your PV supplier.

No PUC power = No solar photovoltaic (PV) power

In addition to converting DC power to AC power during the day, your inverter will also monitor the current flow to/from the National Grid. If there is a PUC power cut, the system will shut down even if the sun is shining. This is a safety requirement so that no power is fed into the grid while PUC maintenance crews are working on the power lines. If you live in an area plagued by power cut you may want to consider a back-up system but these can be costly. Please discuss your options with your PV supplier.

PUC gives final approval for PV

All gird-connected PV installations in Seychelles need to be approved by PUC under the Energy Act (2012). BEFORE you purchase a PV system, you (or your supplier) need to submit a PV Application Form to PUC for consideration and read and agree to the Terms and Conditions attached to the Application Form. PUC technicians will conduct a site visit to assess the network status to your premises before deciding on whether or not to grant you permission to connect to the grid.

NOTE: Off-Grid systems do not require PUC approval but by law, you (your supplier) are required to advise PUC and SEC of the installation. 

A little extra weight on the top

If you are investing in a roof mounted system, it is important to consider the state of your roof BEFORE you invest in a solar (PV) system. Most residential roofs are supported by wooden beams, which are designed to support some additional weight, usually equivalent to a small PV system. Larger systems need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Another important consideration is the lifespan of the underlying roof, since most solar (PV) systems are guaranteed to last a minimum of 25 years. If your roof is old, it is advisable to have it replaced BEFORE installing a costly PV system. Please discuss your options with your PV supplier.

Total production capacity for residential premises 

You can produce 100% of your household energy needs from renewable energy. Your solar (PV) supplier will calculate your annual energy needs from your PUC bill and size your solar (PV) system accordingly. It is important to note that your energy consumption varies throughout the year, and because you are billed on a monthly basis, there will be some months were you will produce more than you use and other months were you produce less than you use.

Total production capacity for commercial premises 

Given, the nature of current electricity tariff, a degree of control is required. Consequently, there is a cap of 50% of energy consumption for commercial customers above 10kW. In other words, installation capacity should meet only 50% of your energy consumption. Commercial customers consuming less than 10kW can install solar  (PV) system to cover 100% of your electricity consumption.

NOTE: The figure for capping will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly with the on-going tariffs rebalancing exercise.