Do The Sums On Solar Power

Whether you’re building from scratch or renovating, it seems there really couldn’t be a better time to install a solar energy system. After all, electricity prices are set to continue rising and solar energy systems are more affordable than ever before. Plus, living in one of the sunniest countries on earth means there’s never going to be a shortage of supply.

But where do you start? What size will you need? And how will the government rebates and feed-in tariffs affect your costs? It’s a good idea to speak to a home energy specialist to learn about recent innovations, and find out how solar energy can actually boost your home’s sustainability and income.

Where Do You Start?

The first step is to decide what size system you need and can afford. Do you want the energy generated to offset some or all the cost of your monthly bill? Larger systems are more productive while smaller installations will only partially offset your bill.

That brings us to cost. These have come down to realistic levels – so solar is currently more affordable than ever. Just be sure to get a comprehensive quote from your installer. As a guide 2kW systems can produce up to 8.4kWh of electricity per day, depending on where they are installed and typical weather conditions. A 2kW solar PV system costs approximately R40,000-R60,000. 5kW systems can produce up to 21kWh of electricity each day. 5kW solar systems typically cost between R90,000 and R120,000.

You also need to determine how suitable your home is for installing a system and generating solar energy. Points to consider include the aspect or orientation of your home (north or east facing is ideal) and how much roof area is available for installing the panels. A solar power installer can help you determine this.

The type of solar equipment you decide to go for is also an important consideration. Products designed and developed for local conditions are highly recommended – as are products that come with a decent warranty. Many panel manufacturers give a 25 year warranty.

Solar Energy System Summary

  • Solar energy systems are becoming simpler and more affordable than ever
  • Systems come in various sizes to suit each individual household’s energy consumption needs
  • You can choose to produce all, or just some, of your household’s energy needs with solar power
  • The government offers homeowners incentives for installing solar energy system (STCs)
  • Grid connect systems connect you to the mains power so that even in periods of cloud you won’t run out of power, and you are credited for any unused excess returned to the grid (known as ‘Feed-In’ tariffs)
  • There are two types of tariffs, gross and net. With gross feed-in tariffs you’re paid a premium on all power produced, and with net tariffs you’re only paid for the excess returned to the grid

Red Tape

Don’t forget that you are likely to need a licensed contractor to carry out much of this work. At the very least, a licensed electrician will need to wire and connect your system. Licensed trades are appropriately qualified and will be covered by the required insurance. Visit our handy trade licensing page for everything you need to know where you live.

Ready to get your energy bill under control? Our handy get quotes service does all the chasing for you and gets three local solar power installers to contact you.

To see more ‘price of’ guides visit the ‘Cost of homes services‘ page to see a full list.


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