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What You Need to Know About Going Solar

Written by Xoliswa Zwane

With Eskom’s tariffs going up by 15% in April this year and its inability to supply electricity to everybody at all times, it has never been more attractive to go solar. Eskom is in effect the best marketing tool for going solar in South Africa. There is a multitude of information out there, and many misconceptions and myths. Here is what you need to know about going solar.

Going solar saves the environment AND saves you money

In the past, most consumers that opted to go solar did so because they wanted to lessen their carbon footprint and do their bit for the environment, even if it would cost them more than using fossil fuels. Presently, though, going solar means that you are not only having a significant impact on the environment, but you will save a considerable amount of money as well. You will have an initial up-front cost to pay, but you will see a return on your investment in as little as 3 years and reduce, or even eliminate, your electricity bill. And even though the electricity prices are ever-increasing, going solar is cheaper than ever. The technology involved is cheaper, and the technology can be used better and more efficiently.

There is not only one type of solar system

When looking into going solar, it is vital to keep in mind that each and every solution will be unique. Employing the services of a reputable systems engineer, installation company, and component providers are essential in getting the correct system for individual needs. Besides the custom-designed engineering and installation aspects, there are also three solar system options available. These are a grid-tied system, an off-grid system, and a hybrid system. Consulting a specialist will help you make the right decision for you.

Safety 

There are a few safety aspects that need to be considered. It is necessary to make sure that your system is certified by the supplier. Legislation now states that a certificate of compliance is required for your solar system. In the past, it was proficient just to have a mention of a system on your certificate, but now there are regulations to be met and adhered to. Choosing to go with a do-it-yourself plan can cause major problems and warranties being rendered obsolete. It can also cause damage to your roof and end up costing you a lot of money.

Maintenance

Your solar panels will need little to no maintenance. They last on average 25 to 30 years and carry long-term equipment and performance warranties. They won’t break easily and are very durable. Often the only maintenance required is an occasional cleaning to remove debris so that sunlight won’t be blocked from reaching the panel.

What happens when you move

It is not advisable to take your solar system with you when you move. The system will probably get damaged, and the cost of removal is high. Leaving your solar system and adding the value to your asking price when selling is much more practical. Having a solar system is attractive to prospective buyers, increasing the value of your property.

You can sell excess solar energy back to the government

When you generate more energy than you use, the municipality can credit you for it, essentially purchasing privately generated electricity at a feed-in tariff. It is only possible in some areas of South Africa, with Cape Town leading the way through trial and error. This system is already in place and working in many other countries, but we still have a ways to go. At the moment there are a lot of regulations to comply with and registration and application processes to go through. A process that may take 7 years for returns to be seen. The legislation is changing though, and owners are demanding an increase in feed-in tariffs. When everything is in place, the return on investment will be much quicker and you will be earning extra cash for your surplus energy.

Thank you for reading this article. If you feel we have left out any important information or would like to contribute to this site and content, please get in touch with us by leaving a comment or emailing us.

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