Saturday, May 25

PriceCheck Buyer’s Guide: What You Need to Know Before Going Solar

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As South Africans contend with the likelihood of advanced stages of loadshedding for the foreseeable future, more homeowners are looking at ways to mitigate the impact of prolonged power outages on their daily lives. In response, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana informed citizens during his budget speech that they can receive up to R15,000 tax rebates for installation costs of rooftop solar panels starting from the 1st of March leaving many considering sun-based energy sources as their pathway towards uninterrupted power supply.

But having the latest information about where and how to start the process is a crucial first step.

While solar provides the single, most cost-effective solution for homeowners, cost-effective doesn’t necessarily mean easily affordable.

“In the same way that we always advise prospective homeowners to have a budget in mind and finance in place, we also recommend that solar shoppers do a needs assessment, cost it and then research the options for financing their solar installation,” Andrea Tucker, Director of MortgageMe.

Solar Fusion inverter

With such a high demand for solar in South Africa, banks and finance companies are starting to offer more innovative and affordable solar kit installation solutions, including adding the cost of solar to a home loan on registration of the bond, extending home loans to cover the cost of installation, or financing solar as a rent to buy option or even on a subscription basis.

The PriceCheck Solar Kit tool offers an easy and affordable solution for South Africans to start their solar journey. Invest in a solar kit for your home by using the easy quote generation tool, with various kits to choose from as well as payment plans built into the tool functionality. Trying to figure out what your solar needs are can be confusing and overwhelming but with this easy-t0-use PriceCheck solar kit tool, investing in solar for your home has never been easier!

“Given that Eskom’s problems are unlikely to be resolved any time soon, the installation of solar will almost certainly enhance the resale value of a property or attractiveness to potential renters it is therefore seen as a good investment by finance houses,” says Tucker. “This is, of course, based on the installation being professional, compliant and adequate for the needs of the house and its occupants,” she adds.

Solar Geyser

Still unsure of how to start your solar journey? here are a few tips for homeowners to consider before embarking on a solar installation.

  • Talk to friends, neighbours and your community for recommendations of companies that they have used.
  • Assess your home’s energy needs based on historical usage patterns and using the PriceCheck solar kit calculator tool.
  • Assess your home’s capacity to support solar panels, taking into consideration surface area of the roof, orientation, pitch, and exposure to the sun.
  • When you have completed these two exercises, you will be able to determine the capacity of the solar panel and storage system you need to install.
  • Ensure that your installer is accredited and uses only the best-quality materials.
  • Get the necessary approvals for installation including from the municipality, homeowners’ association, body corporate etc.
  • Ensure your solar system is maintained regularly and that it is insured the same as any other household asset.
  • Check that your solar system come with a generous warranty, and keep up with basic ongoing maintenance (such as keeping panels free of dust and debris, and monitoring and inspection of the system) to ensure the system functions optimally at all times.

Solar Geyser

Solar installation is not only about the number of panels but also of the storage capacity of the captured solar energy based on the size of the home and appliances that people wish to keep on during a power outage. There is also the possibility that in the future, surplus energy generated may be sold back into the grid, which may provide a modest return on your investment. The Western Cape is certainly moving forward with this and it is hoped that the rest of the country will follow suit.

With the added burden of increased electricity tariffs on top of loadshedding, solar provides a reliable, safe and sustainable energy alternative to the national grid – and it only makes sense in a country with as many sunlight hours as we experience. There are many options that make it cost-effective depending on your immediate needs and ability to outlay a large amount upfront or pay it off over time. It is certainly looked upon favourably by banks and finance houses who are making it easier for homeowners to choose solar.

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