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Solar Power Generation in South Africa - Everything You Need to Know

December 8, 2023

South Africa's embrace of solar power generation has ushered in a transformative era in its energy landscape. With abundant sunlight and a growing commitment to sustainable energy solutions, the country is making significant strides in harnessing the sun's power. 

We spoke to our solar power experts, from solar installers and other experts, to answer popular questions. We delve into the world of solar power in South Africa, providing you with everything you need to know about its growth, impact, challenges, and promising future. Read on to discover more.

Is solar power worth it in South Africa?
Yes, solar power is worth it in South Africa due to abundant sunlight. It can significantly reduce electricity bills and provide a return on investment over time, particularly considering rising energy costs and annual Eskom tariff increases.

How much solar power is generated in South Africa?
South Africa has among the highest levels of solar production capability in the world, with most areas in South Africa averaging more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year, and average solar-radiation levels range between 4.5 and 6.5kWh/m2 in one day

Do you still have to pay Eskom if you have solar power?
Yes, even with solar power, you may need to pay a connection or service fee to Eskom to remain connected to the grid. This fee covers the costs of infrastructure maintenance and access to the grid at times when solar generation is low or demand exceeds your solar production.

What are the advantages of solar power in South Africa?
Advantages of solar power in South Africa include reduced electricity bills, decreased reliance on Eskom, lowered carbon footprint, potential for grid independence, and increased property value.

How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels typically have a manufacturer production warranty of around 25 years. While efficiency may decrease slightly over time, they can continue generating significant power beyond their warranty period.

Do you pay tax on solar panels in South Africa?
Solar panels will attract VAT when they are purchased from a supplier. In 2023 the South African government announced a tax incentive allowing consumers to claim a rebate to the value of 25% of the cost of new and unused solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, up to a maximum of R15 000 per individual.

What is the best solar power system in South Africa?
Due to the instability of the grid in South Africa, the best system would be a hybrid inverter that will produce solar savings while the grid is connected and provide backup power in times when the grid is off.

How many solar panels are needed to power a room?
The number of solar panels needed to power a room in depends on the room's energy consumption, sunlight availability, and panel capacity. A small room with few low-consuming appliances would require very few panels.

Is it better to rent or buy solar in South Africa?
While buying solar panels in South Africa may appear to be more cost-effective in the long run, rental options from Metrowatt that include maintenance and support provide peace of mind for consumers knowing that in the event of equipment failure, the rental provider will resolve the problem at their own cost.

How much does it cost to go off-grid with solar in South Africa?
To operate in an off-grid scenario in South Africa, a customer will need to have solar panels and battery storage, which should provide sufficient power to run one’s essential items for an extended period of time. Metrowatt offers hybrid solar system rentals with solar panels and battery storage for a monthly cost.

How much is a monthly solar payment in South Africa?
Monthly rental amounts vary depending on the system's size and financing duration, but a correctly sized system from Metrowatt should net off to approximately R1000 when deducting the savings generated by your solar panels.

How many kW is required for a house?
The kW required for a house in South Africa depends on energy consumption and the number of phases on your municipal feed. On average, a small single-phase house might need a 3kW to 5kW system, while larger 3-phase homes may require a 12kW system.

Where is the best position for solar panels in South Africa?
In South Africa, solar panels should ideally face north to capture the most sunlight throughout the day. The angle should be 25 to 30 degrees from the horizontal for optimal energy production.

Can I install my own solar system in South Africa? Yes, you can install your own solar system in South Africa, but it's recommended to work with a reputable company like Metrowatt, which will ensure safety, efficiency, and compliance with regulations.

Which energy retailer is best for solar in South Africa?
Several energy retailers in South Africa offer solar-friendly solutions. Be sure to look for solar providers like Metrowatt, who offer ongoing support and maintenance packages to ensure that your system runs for many years hassle-free.

Which is the biggest solar company in South Africa?
Several significant solar companies are operating in the dynamic solar market, with companies focused on utility-scale, commercial, industrial and residential sectors. When selecting a provider for your home, be sure that their focus is in the residential sector and that they are geared to provide support to residential homes.

Do solar panels need maintenance?
Solar panels generally require minimal maintenance. Regular visual inspections, cleaning dirt or debris, and checking for shading are recommended to ensure optimal performance.

How often do solar panels need to be cleaned?
Solar panels in South Africa may need cleaning every few months, depending on environmental factors like dust, pollen, and bird droppings. Regular rain can help keep panels sufficiently clean.

Does rain affect solar panels?
Overcast and rainy weather will impact the solar production of solar panels due to the limited sunlight that can reach the panels. The rain generally helps clean solar panels by removing dust and dirt, improving their efficiency once the sun returns.

Can I finance a solar system in South Africa? Many financial institutions and solar providers in South Africa offer financing options for solar systems. These arrangements allow you to pay for the system over time while enjoying the benefits of solar power.

Thank you, team

We had a great time talking to our team about solar power generation, and we look forward to catching up again soon.

Solar power generation in South Africa represents a sustainable energy source and hope for a brighter and greener future. Our solar power company and solar installers' ongoing research and development show our dedication to relieving South Africa's energy challenges and reducing carbon emissions. 

View our solar power system products here and start your solar-powered future. 

Also, you’re welcome to visit our Solar Centre in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, to chat with our solar power experts and installers in person. 

The journey towards a solar-powered South Africa and its limitless potential for renewable energy inspires us.

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