Going Solar: A Once-Off Deal or a Journey of Sustainability?

by SOCO ENERGY | November 01, 2023

At SOCO ENERGY, we are deeply committed to ensuring that every solar installation we undertake is not just a one-time transaction but a satisfying renewable journey. We firmly believe in the power of renewable energy to transform our world, and this transformation begins with technical compliance, accountability, and continuous support. Let us explore some critical factors that set a reputable installation company apart from unscrupulous installers:

Technical Compliance of a Solar Installation

Technical compliance is the foundation of a safe and efficient solar installation. It encompasses various crucial elements that are essential to the system's performance, safety, and regulatory adherence. To only name a few, here are some important compliance factors a reputable installer must consider:

  1. Earthing and Bonding: Proper earthing and bonding are vital to ensure safety in a solar installation. They protect against electrical faults and lightning strikes. Without appropriate grounding, the risk of electrical shock or fire increases substantially. Reputable installers ensure that all components are correctly grounded and bonded, mitigating these risks.
  2. Isolation and Protection Circuitry: Isolation switches and protection circuitry are essential for the safety and performance of a solar system. They allow for the isolation of the system during maintenance or emergencies. Neglecting these components can lead to accidents during servicing or, in extreme cases, electrical fires.
  3. Correctly Sized Cables and Fuses: The size of cables and fuses within a solar system is not arbitrary; it's a precise calculation based on the system's electrical load. Inadequately sized cables and fuses can result in overheating, energy losses, or even system failure. Compliance requires careful consideration of these components to ensure optimal system performance and safety.
  4. AC and DC Surge Protection: Surge protection is crucial in a solar installation to safeguard against voltage spikes, particularly in areas prone to lightning strikes or unstable municipal supply. AC and DC surge protectors shield the system from the damaging effects of surges. Neglecting this protection can result in costly damage to inverters, panels, and other system components.
  5. Certificate of Compliance: After the installation is complete, a valid Certificate of Compliance is a crucial document. This certificate attests that the solar installation adheres to local and national regulations, safety standards, and quality guidelines. It is essential not only for regulatory purposes but also for the peace of mind that your system is both safe and efficient. Warranties and insurance companies will not cover your installation if the CoC is not completely valid.

These technical compliance factors are non-negotiable in a reputable solar installation. They ensure the safety of the system, protect your investment, and guarantee eligibility for incentives and rebates. Always demand these standards when choosing your solar installation provider.

Cost of Compliance

Compliance unfortunately comes at a cost. Some consumers are lured by the lower prices offered by subpar installers who may cut corners on these vital compliance elements. However, these apparent savings often come at a significant cost, as non-compliant systems can pose safety risks, have lower efficiency, and may not be eligible for incentives. Remember, a quality solar installation is an investment in your future.

Qualifications and Accountability of Solar Installers

A reputable solar installation company will employ properly trained and certified technicians who understand the importance of these technical compliance factors. They will be accountable for their work, ensuring that it meets all regulatory and safety standards.

Qualifications that are non-negotiable:

  • Wiremans license (legal requirement)
  • Registered with the Department of Labor (legal requirement)
  • PV Greencard certification (SAPVIA accreditation)
  • Registered with Electrical Contractors Association or Electrical Conformance Board of Southern Africa

Experience of a Qualified Installer

Experience is invaluable in the solar industry. A seasoned installer understands the nuances of solar technology, local regulations, and potential challenges that may arise during installation. They can anticipate and address issues effectively, ensuring a smoother installation process.

When evaluating solar installers, consider their experience as a crucial factor. An experienced installer is more likely to deliver a reliable and high-performance system. A solar installation is much more than mounting components on a wall, the system needs to be calibrated and optimized for the specific application to suit the needs of the end user.

The Importance of After Sales Support

Going solar is a long-term commitment, and it doesn't end with the installation. Reputable companies offer warranties, service plans and support to provide peace of mind. After-sales support is not a product that can be purchased online, but forms the basis of a maintained relationship with your installer. This is essential for optimizing the performance of your system, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring its longevity.

In conclusion, going solar should be viewed as a renewable journey rather than a one-time deal. Choosing a reputable and qualified solar installation company ensures technical compliance, safety, and accountability. While subpar installers may offer lower prices, the long-term benefits of choosing a reputable company, such as efficiency, safety, and after-sales support, far outweigh the initial cost. By making an informed decision and investing in quality, you're not just going solar; you're embarking on a sustainable energy journey that will benefit you for years to come.