Thinking of Making the Switch to Solar? Here’s What You Need to Know

Published: 27 June 2023

As South Africans, we’re no strangers to the inconveniences of load shedding. Unable to heat up dinner, the washing machine turning off halfway through a load, and major traffic lights not working – we’ve learnt to cope. However, for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), some of whom simply can’t work without electricity, the challenges posed by load shedding have far deeper implications. As the nation continues to face an energy crisis, we’re increasingly considering alternative sources of power to ensure uninterrupted operations. One solution that has gained significant momentum is solar energy. So, if you’re eager to take control of your energy needs and reduce your reliance on the grid, here’s all you need to know:

Do Your Homework 

While the solar industry is becoming more regulated, at present the barriers to entry are still relatively low. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough research when selecting an installer. When reviewing solar options, ensure that your chosen installer has a proven track record in the field. Look for evidence of their previous projects and installations, and determine whether they offer end-to-end services or only handle certain aspects. Trust can be a challenge in a emerging industry, so it’s important to consider if the installer specialises exclusively in solar installations, as some companies may venture into solar as a secondary business without attaining expertise in the field.

Make Sure the Company is Registered 

When selecting a service provider for your solar PV installation, it is essential to verify if they are a member of organisations such as the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), Electrical Contractors Association (ECASA), or the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

One crucial aspect to consider is the SAPVIA PV GreenCard, which serves as a safety certification. PV installers undergo specialised training, assessments, and certification before being registered on the PV GreenCard database. This certification guarantees that they are knowledgeable and compliant with all relevant national standards and municipal regulations – which is something you can’t afford to look past!

Make Sure the Company has a Certificate of Compliance 

In adherence to government regulations concerning electrical installations, it is mandatory to have a Certificate of Compliance (CoC). This CoC serves as crucial protection for homeowners. In the unfortunate event of system failure, damage, or personal injury, insurance companies are unlikely to provide coverage without a valid CoC.

To ensure compliance, any electrician registered with the Department of Labour, who conducts the installation, must provide you with a CoC. This certificate is issued after the installation is completed, and the necessary tests and checks are performed.

Know your Warranties and Guarantees

It is essential to secure all the available warranties and guarantees for both the installation and individual components of your system, such as solar panels, inverters, batteries, and the system structure. Take the time to carefully review any variations between the warranties and guarantees offered by the manufacturers and the installer. The installer needs to provide a comprehensive explanation of each warranty.

Beware of eCommerce Scammers

eCommerce has revolutionised the way we shop and interact with businesses, and with this there is also a risk of falling victim to scammers. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing solar energy systems and services. With the growing popularity of solar installations, there has been an unfortunate rise in eCommerce scammers preying on unsuspecting customers. These scammers often create enticing offers with low prices and promises of quick installations, only to disappear after receiving payment or delivering substandard products. To protect yourself from fraudulent activities, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of the warning signs. Always research the seller thoroughly, read customer reviews, and look for established eCommerce platforms or reputable websites. You should also verify the legitimacy of the company by checking for certifications and licences. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Tax Benefits of Solar Energy in South Africa

Did you know that as a South African business owner you can benefit from an accelerated depreciation allowance of 125%? This means that companies investing in a solar system can enjoy even greater tax benefits. If a company invests R150,000 in a solar system, they can benefit from reclaiming 15% VAT on the total installation charge (subject to a valid VAT invoice), as well as an income tax saving of 27%. This combination of tax incentives not only encourages businesses to adopt clean energy solutions but also provides tangible financial advantages. By harnessing solar power, companies can simultaneously reduce their environmental footprint and enjoy significant tax savings, making it a win-win situation for both the business and the planet.

As load shedding continues to impact our daily lives, should your business switch to solar energy as a reliable and sustainable alternative? If you’re eager to take control of your energy needs and reduce your reliance on the grid – it may be worth taking the leap. By embracing solar energy, you not only contribute to a greener future but also gain long-term financial and environmental advantages. So, take the leap and explore the world of solar energy – it’s a step towards energy independence and a more sustainable future.