Solar issues to watch out for in South Africa

 ·11 Nov 2023

Solar systems can offer extensive electricity bill savings over the long term, but an incorrect installation can have serious consequences.

Although solar systems are booming in South Africa amidst the nation’s energy insecurity, correctly installing the solar system is as important as the components chosen.

“Anyone with a passing knowledge of electrical systems can load a solar setup on the back of their bakkie and install it in your home. However, it takes a qualified and experienced installer to ensure that your solar system is able to stand the test of time, and that you benefit from the maximum output and energy savings allowed by your panels,” says Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy.

Henkemans noted that solar installations are not simple DIY projects, as they involve high-voltage wiring, complex components, and strictly following various regulations.

If there is an error during the installation process, it could severely damage the system and the home/business.

For instance, faulty installations and systems can create a fire hazard. Despite being relatively uncommon, substandard components can also cause a system to overheat or short-circuit, which can cause an explosion.

In addition, if the solar system is not designed correctly or the panels are not placed for maximum sun exposure, the system may experience major power loss, impacting the long-term savings and the return on investment.

Sub-optimally installed systems also void a consumer’s warranty, which could be a concern as incorrect voltage designs, mismatched batteries or inadequate temperature controls could result in damage to key hardware which will need to be replaced.

“This could substantially increase your system’s cost and reduce its efficiency. Batteries, for example, account for as much as a third of your system’s total cost. If the batteries have to be replaced more frequently, they could substantially raise your total system costs,” said Snoeck Henkemans.

“Likewise, to avoid risk to your property, it’s important to choose a credible and qualified service provider with a proven track record of successful, high-quality installations.  Also make sure they’ll be a round to offer you a backup service or assist with troubleshooting after installation.”

Read: Eskom launches massive new battery storage project

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