Do I need permission from Eskom to Install Solar Panels?

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Do I need permission from Eskom to Install Solar Panels?

Prepared by : SAPAC Reporter
Article Classification: Information 
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As South Africa grapples with Eskom's ongoing power supply challenges, an increasing number of homeowners are exploring the installation of solar panel systems to secure their energy needs. This trend is further accelerated by government promises of support. While harnessing the power of the sun for energy has numerous practical advantages, homeowners need to be aware of the relevant regulations governing solar installations. Ignoring these regulations can lead to severe penalties for unauthorised installations. In this article, we'll provide insights on staying compliant with the law and offer a comprehensive view of going off-grid.

The Solar Boom: Factors Driving Home Solar Installations

Several factors have converged to drive the surge in residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in South Africa. Eskom's persistent load shedding, coupled with escalating electricity costs, has pushed homeowners to seek alternative energy sources. The abundance of sunlight in the country, along with the global shift towards sustainable energy solutions, has created a perfect environment for the growth of home solar installations. While the initial investment can be substantial, the financial and practical benefits, along with potential property value appreciation, make it an appealing prospect. Additionally, some municipalities are considering compensating homeowners for surplus power fed back into the grid.

Tax Incentives for Going Solar

Incentivizing solar adoption, the government has introduced tax benefits for both businesses and individuals. The Budget Speech has promised to expand existing tax incentives and introduce a new 25% tax rebate (up to R15,000 per individual) for "new and unused" solar panels (excluding inverters and batteries). This rebate is available for one year, from 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024, to encourage prompt investment in solar energy.

Step 1: Selecting the Right Electrical Contractor for Compliance

Before committing to a solar project, it's essential to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Choosing a qualified Electrical Contractor is key to navigating this process successfully. Your Electrical Contractor should be able to issue an Electrical Certificate of Compliance, which serves multiple purposes: completing the authorisation process, adding the system to your homeowner's insurance, preserving warranties, and enabling you to claim the new tax rebate. 

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    Step 2: Meeting Regulatory Requirements

    Compliance with the Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) process is essential. Your chosen Electrical Contractor should handle the registration and authorisation of the system with Eskom or your local municipality, the supplier of your electricity. Authorisation is required whether your system feeds electricity back into the grid or not. Various system types exist, such as "grid-tied," "off-grid," and "hybrid" systems, each with unique requirements. Have your electrical contractor manage these complexities to ensure safety and compliance.

    Failure to register and obtain authorisation can result in penalties, contravention notices, and supply disconnection. It could also lead to insurance claims being rejected. If you live in a community scheme, ensure compliance with your Rules and Regulations and obtain necessary consents.

    Safety and Quality Assurance

    Adhering to local regulations is vital to prevent potential insurance claim rejections. This includes assessing the structural capacity of roofs to accommodate solar panels and using approved inverter makes and models. Submit the compliance certificate to your insurers to update your homeowner's policy accordingly.

    Also Read: This is what you need to know with regards to Solar PV

    The Pros and Cons of Going Off-Grid

    While going entirely off-grid might seem appealing as it eliminates many administrative burdens, it also severs your connection to municipal or Eskom power supply. Carefully consider the impact on your property's resale value and weigh the short-term benefits and drawbacks of such a decision.

    If you are thinking solar energy as a viable solution to power woes, business owners and homeowners should be well-informed about regulations and the potential advantages and disadvantages of going solar or off-grid. Let SAPAC assist you correctly! 

    Also Read

    SAPAC Do I need Eskoms permission to Install Solar Panels

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