How does solar power work?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels contain a semiconductor material (typically silicon-based) which converts sunlight into direct-current (DC) electricity. An on-site inverter converts the DC power to AC power, which can then be connected to a building’s power supply or directly to the electricity grid.

Does solar make sense for my building?

​Perform a spot check to determine if your roof if free of shaded by trees, mountains or other buildings?  Is your roof is flat or mainly sloped in a northerly direction and has an uninterrupted northern exposure? If you have answered ‘yes’ to these questions your home, office or building may be ideal for solar PV.

What factors influence the economics of a solar system?

This is determined by a number of factors, including geographic location, specific energy consumption tariff, slope and shading of roof structure or piece of ground where solar panels will be mounted.

Is net metering allowed in South Africa?

A national legal framework for commercially viable net-metering schemes that would boost the residential and commercial PV roof segments is being developed. Certain municipalities are now allowing a limited amount of excess energy generated by solar systems to be off-set against energy usage, while others are now are allowing bi-directional metering: where consumption is billed at a pre-determined rate, and energy fed back into the grid is reimbursed to the consumer at a separate energy rate.

What incentives are available?

Currently, Eskom’s Standard Offer Program (SOP) subsidy is on hold, and is not available for solar projects. It is Eskom’s view that this program will be reintroduced to assist in incentivizing the installation of more renewable energy projects, which will assist with South Africa’s energy shortages. South African revenue Services (SARS) has introduced S12B accelerated wear & tear allowance, which allows businesses to write off any capital costs spent on renewable energy systems as a deduction against taxable income within the first 3 years of ownership of that asset.

Does my region get enough sun for solar power to make sense?

​South Africa has some of the world’s best solar resource. Certain parts of the country such as the drier interior experience better solar irradiation than others. However, solar energy can work just about anywhere, and even South Africa’s poorest solar resourced region experiences substantially higher solar irradiation than Germany, which as a country has the world’s most solar installed.