Understanding Inverter and Solar Panel Installation Regulations in South Africa

Posted by SAPAC Reporter on

Common, South African questions relating to Solar Panels and electric management systems

Prepared by : SAPAC Reporter
Article Classification: Information 
Image courtesy: SAPAC 


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Who Can Install Inverters in South Africa?

In South Africa, the installation of inverters is a specialized task reserved for qualified electricians. Specifically, Installation Electricians (IE) and Master Installation Electricians (MIE) with the necessary Department of Labor contracting letters and wireman's licenses that are authorized to perform these installations. These experts have undergone rigorous training to ensure their competence in handling the technical aspects of solar inverter installations safely and effectively. Single-phase electricians (ESTP) may only install solar system and electrical inverters under the general control of an installation or master installation electrician but cannot issue an electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for such installations.

Do You Need a CoC for an Inverter Installation?

Indeed, a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is a crucial requirement for inverter installations in South Africa. It's not just a matter of legality; it's a vital component of safety and insurance validity. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in insurance invalidation and legal consequences.

May a Solar Company Install a Solar System and Inverter?

No, solar companies are not authorized to install solar systems and inverters independently. Only registered electricians are permitted to carry out such installations, including solar panels and inverters. When engaging with a solar company for a quote, ensure that the electricians involved are employees of the company to adhere to legal requirements. If they are not employed by the solar company you may end up with problems down the road. 

Do I Need a Permit to Install Solar Panels in South Africa?

Yes, obtaining the necessary permits from your local municipality is a legal requirement before installing a solar system in South Africa. This process involves submitting an SSEG (Small-Scale Embedded Generation) form, accompanied by specific Certificates of Compliance. While the exact requirements may vary across municipalities, they generally include a Structural Engineer Certificate of Compliance, an MIE or IE Electrician Certificate of Compliance, and an Electrical Engineer Certificate of Compliance.

Can Any Electrician Install an Inverter?

Inverter installation is a specialized task that must be carried out by qualified professionals, namely MIE Master Installation Electricians or IE Installation Electricians. These experts are the only ones authorized to issue electrical Certificates of Compliance (CoCs) for inverter installations. Single-phase electricians can only perform these installations under the general supervision of MIEs or IEs and cannot issue CoCs. This is crucial because the inverter is connected to your distribution board, which controls all electricity distribution in your commercial or residential property.

Can I Install a Solar Management System Myself?

No, self-installation of a solar management system is not permitted, and no legal electrician will provide you with an electrical CoC for such an installation. Attempting to do so would be a breach of the law.

Is an Electronic Electrical CoC Valid?

Currently, electronic Certificates of Compliance (CoCs) are not officially recognized as valid. While there are emerging applications for electronic CoCs, they must receive approval from the Department of Labor to be considered legitimate. As of now, the most widely accepted and legally recognized format is the paper-based CoC with a unique identifier number.

Where Can I Install My Solar Battery Pack?

Solar battery packs may only be installed onto a firewall on your property, which means a wall not directly adjacent to your main structure. This requirement aligns with the regulations outlined in SANS 10400 T. Solar battery packs are typically installed in a garage on the opposite wall that is not adjacent to your home or in specialized anti-theft cabinets to ensure compliance. Installing a solar battery pack inside your home, cupboards, or any non-compliant location is strictly prohibited.

Can Solar Panels Be Installed on Asbestos Sheeting?

No, solar panels must not be installed on asbestos roofing. There are no suitable engineering controls for mounting solar panels onto or above asbestos roof sheets. Any installer or electrician suggesting otherwise is in violation of the law and should be reported immediately to the Electrical Approved Inspection Authority. If you are uncertain whether your roof contains asbestos, it is advisable to contact SAPAC for guidance.

Who to contact for Solar installation problems?

SAPAC, may be contacted for any solar installation issue, we will require information on where you obtained the contact details of the installer? Their website or social media platform. SAPAC will then place you in contact directly with the Electrical Approved Inspection Authority. It is crucial that your complaint is thoroughly investigated and handled correctly and accordingly.  


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