Presented by Standard Bank

Best places to live for solar

 ·27 Jul 2023

Homes in Gauteng generally have a higher Solar Score than their coastal counterparts, according to Standard Bank’s LookSee home efficiency platform, meaning they are able to generate more electricity from their roofs.

It’s not bad news for southern parts of the country, however, as houses there can still produce high levels of solar power.

A home’s location, solar irradiance, shady conditions, and roof direction, size and slope can have a significant impact on how a solar system will perform, says Standard Bank LookSee executive head Marc du Plessis.

“These elements are difficult for most households to assess themselves, which can lead to disappointment when their chosen solar system does not reach the advertised generation potential.”

“It’s for this reason that we developed the first Solar Score system focused on South Africa’s residential properties,” he explains.

The easy-to use Solar Score only requires a user to enter their physical address for the system to generate a 3D model of the house and assess it against a variety of solar performance factors. The user is then presented with a Solar Score out of 100, usable roof area, average sunlight days, potential electricity generation, and estimated savings on their electricity bill.

How homes perform

The Solar Score has also enabled LookSee to analyse which suburbs in the metropolitan cities of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape offer the best conditions for a home solar installation.

“Looking at the average Solar Scores for homes in the top 30 suburbs, Gauteng has the overwhelming majority with KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape suburbs taking 9 and 7 places respectively.

“What’s more, the average homes in the top Gauteng suburbs all have the potential to generate upwards of 100 kilowatt-hours of power a day,” says du Plessis.

“This is due to the level of photovoltaic emissions or solar irradiance lowering as you move away from the equator.”

It’s not bad news for the coastal cities, however, as their Solar Scores and generation potential still make solar installations a very attractive option. 

While the scoring tells a user how efficiently a solar system will perform on their roof, the system also looks at the generation potential based on how many solar panels can be installed on the optimal sides of the roof.

This means that 2 houses with the same Solar Score can expect different generation levels because of their roof sizes.

“What’s clear from the analysis is that a home’s location, size and structure have a real impact on how a solar system will perform and the electricity it could expect to generate. The insight provided by a free Solar Score is invaluable to a person who is considering investing in solar.

“The incredible interest we’ve seen just goes to show that households are keen to take an informed approach to their solar decision,” says du Plessis.

LookSee also offers an end-to-end solar journey focused on helping households find the right system size for their electricity needs, flexible financing options, extensively vetted solar installers and full journey support from its dedicated Solar Concierge Team.

The LookSee Solar Score currently covers metropolitan cities in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape. Work is underway to extend the coverage to all towns and cities in South Africa during 2023 as well as adding sectional title properties.

* Please note:

  1. This analysis is based on suburb-level data for Gauteng, eThekwini Municipality and the City of Cape Town.
  2. Only residential suburbs containing 80 or more houses were used in analysis.
  3. No sectional title properties or agricultural-type suburbs were included in the analysis.
  4. Generation capacity is based on the maximum standard installation configuration.
  5. The conditions of an individual property may mean its Solar Score differs from the average Solar Score for that suburb. 
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