The importance of working with reputable solar suppliers

As increasing numbers of South Africans look to capitalise on renewable energy to reduce their household bills, SAPVIA (South African Photovoltaic Association) is urging consumers that due diligence is required to minimise risk.

Demand for solar technology has increased both for households and businesses as consumers realise both the cost and environmental benefits of switching to the renewable technology. Recent estimates suggest that some 2GW of solar PV installations have been completed in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

However, as recent media reports have shown, the popularity of the technologies has also led to some safety and quality concerns with a rise in unaccredited suppliers offering cheaper, and potentially unsafe installation services.

Niveshen Govender, COO, SAPVIA, said, “Solar PV offers consumers the chance to take control of their energy supply and substantially reduce their bills. We are delighted that consumers are adopting solar PV and there has been an increase in the number of suppliers offering PV installation across the country.”

“However, we are cautioning consumers to undertake the proper due diligence to ensure that they are engaging an accredited installer who will ensure both the quality and safety of their installation. Just as you would with any supplier, you need to scrutinise their qualifications, previous experience, accreditations and of course the quality of the components you are purchasing.”

In addition to advocating for a solar PV powered future for South Africa, SAPVIA has taken the lead in the development of a robust accreditation programme that is designed to deliver a quality and sustainable solar PV sector in South Africa. This has been achieved through the PV GreenCard Programme which demonstrates industry experience, specialised training as well as compliance with national standards and municipal regulations.

The PV GreenCard programme doesn’t just support installers, it also gives consumers the confidence to ask the right questions and assure themselves of a high-quality solar PV installation. The installer must provide the system owner with a report that includes a robust checklist of all the necessary installation steps as well as all details of the installation, including details of the PV modules and inverters utilised.

“As consumers turn to solar PV in increasing numbers, SAPVIA through the PV GreenCard Programme is able to offer guidance on the quality and safety of the industry. Our role is to ensure the future viability of the solar PV sector, and this can only be achieved if consumers have confidence that installers are able to deliver quality installations that will allow them to reap the benefits of solar both in the short and long term.

“SAPVIA is working with the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa and the Department of Employment and Labour to ensure that we develop robust mechanisms to regulate installation standards for the electrical sector in general and more specifically solar PV. Through standardisation and a commitment to developing quality installations, we believe we will be able to offer best practice training, which should not only support the renewables sector but also create much-needed job opportunities in a fast-growing sector.”


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