Warning over new solar scam in South Africa

 ·9 Mar 2023

As the government, businesses and South Africans at large look for relief from load shedding by pushing into solar, scammers and criminals are looking for opportunities to take advantage.

The City of Tshwane has issued an alert to residents warning of scammers pretending to be city representatives rolling out a new solar initiative.

The scammers pose as fake contractors, travelling around in an apparent City of Tshwane credit control contractor vehicle.

The “contractors” take pictures of houses under the pretence that this is in relation to a “Tshwane Solar Installation Drive”. The perpetrators approach homeowners and request their identity documents.

The city said that the scammers are currently operating in Soshanguve but warned all residents to take caution and not fall for the scam, as there is no solar installation drive taking place.

It said that residents should report any suspicious behaviour and operations by these fake contractors to the authorities.

The solar scam is emerging at the same time as a new among criminals, where solar panels are being targeted.

Private security group Fidelity ADT warned in February that as more homeowners purchase alternative power supplies, criminals are finding ways to take advantage.

The group sad that solar panels are increasingly being stolen from properties, typically during the day while homeowners are at work.

Fidelity ADT said that criminals are continuously shifting and altering their patterns of behaviour, making it increasingly important for homeowners to keep up with security trends.

South African households have imported over R5 billion worth of home solar equipment in the last year, as many seek ways to get away from Eskom and prolonged levels of load shedding.

Solar builds and projects are expected to increase significantly in the country following the announcement from National Treasury that private households can secure a rebate on solar panel installations – to a maximum of R15,000 – and businesses can get a 125% rebate on investment into solar projects.

How the tax break works

  • Who can claim: Individuals who pay personal income tax can claim the rebate against their tax liability. This rebate is not intended for solar installations at business premises.
  • What can be claimed: Individuals can 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 are the limits: Only new and unused solar PV panels qualify. Only solar PV panels with a minimum capacity of 275W per panel (design output) qualify for the rebate.
    Other components of a system – batteries, inverters, fittings or diesel generators – and installation costs do not qualify. Portable panels will also not qualify.
  • When is the rebate in effect: The rebate applies to qualifying solar PV panels that are brought into use for the first time in the period from 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024.
  • How you can claim: Individuals will be able to claim the rebate if they have a VAT invoice that indicates the cost of the solar PV panels separately from other items, along with proof of payment, and a Certificate of Compliance evidencing that the solar PV panels were brought into use for the first time in the period from 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024. PAYE taxpayers will be able to claim the rebate on assessment during 2023/24 filing season. Provisional taxpayers will be able to claim the rebate against provisional and final payments.

Read: Long wait for rooftop solar in South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter