Loadshedding remains a thorn in the side of all South Africans and the country’s government, and it’s no surprise that more people are considering the move to solar as a renewable alternative energy source.However, the market is fraught with danger for the unsuspecting and desperate homeowner and consumers need to inform themselves and proceed with caution. Morag Evans, CEO of Databuild, says the benefits of investing in solar panel infrastructure for the home are well documented. In addition to reducing one’s carbon footprint and the realistic opportunity to lower bills, homeowners could soon benefit from the government’s renewable energy incentive scheme. According to the scheme, consumers can claim a 25% rebate on the cost of solar infrastructure, up to R15 000. This rebate is only for new and unused solar photovoltaic panels that are installed in private residences. “Yes, there are advantages to solar, including power supply and backup when loadshedding commences. Clearly, the government wants to ramp up the move to renewable energy, and the tax incentive will help, but we want people to know that as with any investment in technology, it’s important to understand how it works, what is the best way to go about it, who to consult with, and how to partner with the right service provider.” Databuild serves as an industry representative and services and solutions provider for the construction and allied industries. As a recognised leader in its field, Databuild has rallied behind expert advice about what you need to think about before running out and buying the first solar panel you can get your hands on. Power capacity and usage requirements, for example, is one of the first aspects to factor into the equation.
“Do your homework, there are different types of solar panels and they are designed for specific purposes.Evans explains that once aspects like cost and necessary permits have been worked out, then begins the task of finding a suitable installation services provider. “You must be vigilant and make sure to find out upfront about what the service includes and doesn’t include… it’s very important to confirm costs, level of expertise, technical knowledge, and experience. Don’t forget to ask about maintenance and follow-up support.” Databuild advises homeowners to thoroughly investigate a would-be service provider’s expertise, how long they have been in the business, how much information do they provide and are willing to provide, their product knowledge, understanding of current market conditions and circumstances and – of course – rates for service. Ensure they have explained the entirety of their offering and you are satisfied with their responses. Databuild recommendations:
- Approach service providers with caution – do background check on credentials, certification, to confirm how long the company has been in operation.
- It is very important to know the specifications of your system and/or what infrastructure you have to support implementation.
- Find out as much information as possible as to what the service provider’s service level agreement includes and does not include.
- Understand your solar power requirements
- Consider the size, warranty clause, durability and efficiency of any solar solutions presented
- Ask for a quote before any commitment is made.
- Ask service providers for referrals