What does Solar Cost?

Solar Panels On Roof

YeahSA Solar Panels

So you’re sick and tired of hearing how Eskom is on the brink of collapse, another spell of load shedding coming up, yet another electricity rate hike, the list goes on…Time to get off the grid and go solar, but can you afford it? Just how much does a solar system cost? 

Luckily for you, we’ve reached out to our suppliers and got some tangible price guides for you to work off of. 

First things first, let’s lay some baseline assumptions for pricing purposes. 

  • Prices are exclusive of VAT but include installation (within metro areas)
  • Rand Dollar exchange = R14.50 
  • Monthly Eskom connection fee = R1500
  • Eskom price per kWh = R1.20
  • Eskom yearly price increase = 9%
  • Sun hours = An annual average of 5 hours per day, up to 9 hours in summer.  

Secondly, a quick (over simplified) crash course into how a solar system works

  1. Solar panels, installed on a roof, collect solar energy and convert that energy into DC electricity.
  2. This electricity is then either stored in batteries (most systems), or feed directly into the mains through the use of an inverter.
  3. The invertor converts the DC electricity into AC electricity which is then used to power appliances in the home. 

Lastly, a quick guide to the main types of solar systems

  1. Off the grid – This system works completely independently of the national grid. This system requires batteries to store electricity to be used when excess electricity is being utilised.
  2. Grid interactive / Battery backup – This system is essentially the same set up as an off grid solution but with a connection to the power grid, this system is the most popular system for residential customers. This system gives you the freedom of being off the grid but you do have a grid connection available. You also do not need to have a big battery bank to get you through days with little or no sunshine.
  3. Grid Tied – This system simply supplements your electricity usage with the use of solar power. There are no batteries in this system and you therefore have no protection against power outages at night time or when there is little or no sun available. This system is more popular amongst commercial clients as they are able to supplement their usage during their peak day time hours and not during the peak residential night time hours.

Right, let’s get down to the part you have all been waiting for, the cost. Thanks to our friends at Maxyield, this is what you can expect to pay:

OFF-GRID RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS

Residential 1: 5kW Inverter 3.7kWh Battery 2.0kW PV R75,000
Residential 2: 5kW Inverter 7.4kWh Battery 2.0kW PV R95,000
Residential 3: 10kW Inverter 11.1kWh Battery 4kW PV R160,000
Residential 4: 10kW Inverter 14.8kWh Battery 6.0kW PV R195,000
Residential 5: 15kW Inverter 22.2kWh Battery 10kW PV R290,000
Residential 6: 15kW Inverter 44.4kWh Battery 15kW PV R440,000

The above examples are for Voltronic inverters with SolarMD Lithium batteries.  Maxyield also offer a large range of design options using grid tie inverters and / or Victron off-grid inverters to meet any specific need

GRID TIED COMMERCIAL SYSTEMS (NO BATTERIES)

60kW SMA: Yearly kWh production of 110,000kWh R660,000
120kW SMA: Yearly kWh production of 220,000kWh R1,200,000
240kW SMA: Yearly kWh production of 440,000kWh R2,352,000

Then for those interested in off-grid solar pumps systems, i.e. where you replace your dedicated Eskom connection with solar power. This system has a very good return on investment as indicated below:

OFF-GRID SOLAR PUMPS

kW System Cost 5 Yr Saving 10 Yr Saving
2.2 R37,000 R133,000 R339,000
5.5 R77,000 R167,000 R424,000
7.5 R103,000 R197,000 R500,000

The “Solar Cost” includes the solar charge controller, solar panels and cost of wiring, lighting protection etc. This is all you need apart from the structures to mount the solar panels. Note that we oversize the solar panels by a factor of 1.8. In other words, the solar panels costed above for the 2.2kW pump is actually 4kW of panels.

Note: No batteries involved. The panels have a 30+ year lifespan.

Solar power is a perfect fit for water pumping with storage. It can be used for direct irrigation as well, but remember you are dependent on the weather!

So in conclusion

When looking to go solar there are a number of factors to take into account. 

  • What are you trying to achieve with your solar solution?
    • Every household and property needs are different, make sure you understand what your requirements are. Some things to consider:
      • Residential vs commercial?
      • What appliances are you needing to run?
      • How long do you plan to own the property?
      • What are my payback periods?
      • Are you actively trying to reduce your carbon footprint?
  • Make sure you engage with a qualified trusted solar installer, luckily for you are already in the right place for that  😉
B & K Solar hard at work

B & K Solar hard at work

At Versofy.com we are incredibly passionate about going green, reducing our carbon footprint and actively looking for ways to utilise clean energy and going solar is certainly a step in the right direction. Now that you have a better understanding of what it will cost, let us get you 3 quotes to compare from quality installers.

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