This is a small guide of what you need to look out for when researching a reputable, professional and established solar installation company that will guide you and help you through the buying and installation process of solar panels for your home.
With increasing awareness of solar power in South Africa, more and more property owners are exploring the options of solar power for their homes, businesses and their farms. However, with an increase in demand, comes an increase in suppliers who cut corners. The “bakkie-brigade” as they are fondly known, is quick to quote you prices over the phone without asking even the basic questions that a professional installer would ask you. Having a roof point due south unfortunately makes your house extremely unviable for a solar solution. As close to true north is best in the case of solar. Do you have a thatch roof? What is your daily, monthly and yearly usage when it comes to electricity? What brand of panels will they install for you?
Who is your electricity supplier? With different municipalities come different requirements and restrictions pertaining to the installation of solar panels on your roof. Installing solar panels within the City of Cape Town municipality brings with it a myriad of restrictions pertaining to size of the solar system installed, and the feedback of excess electricity back into the grid. The criteria vary from one municipal area to the next. A professional installer will be able to guide you through this with ease.
For example, the municipality of Drakenstein allows for your solar panels on the roof of your home to generate excess electricity and then to feed the excess back into the grid. For this privilege you are charged a fee per month but it allows the home owner to generate electricity during the day and feed it to the grid when he is not using it, and being allowed to use the same amount of electricity at night when they return home. This is called net metering.
The bottom line is customer service, make sure your consultant is knowledgeable, and ask him about the restrictions within your municipality, what your estimated yield will be with your specific roof pitch, number of solar panels and degrees off true North. Do not be baffled by technical talk! Make sure the supplier you choose uses a good quality panel with local backup and dealers that can honour the guarantee’s that are given. You will find that a lone supplier importing panels from foreign shores will struggle to honour a guarantee should a panel fail.