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What to expect with solar installation

What to Expect During Solar Power Kit Installations

Solar Power Kit installations are pretty straightforward, but you may not know what to expect if you’re not in the industry.

You also may not know that there is a fine line between a sound, safe installation and an unsafe one.

In this guide, we’ll go through the solar installation process and what you need to know about costs, time frames and system setups.

We’ll also go through what a safe solar power installation should include and why these includes are necessary.

Chapter 1

Solar Installations: Costs

You can expect to pay just under R14,000 for the base fee and around R750 per panel installed.

Your Solar Power Kit is an investment, and as with any monetary investment, you’ll want to make sure that the institution taking care of your investment does so with care.

Therefore, choosing the right installation company is of utmost importance.

The cost comes into play here because choosing an installer based on a lower fee might be a huge mistake and end up costing you much more money in the long run .

Solar Power Kit Installations Cost
Chapter 2

Solar Power Kit Installations: What to Expect

How Long Does A Solar Installation Take?

On average, residential Solar Power Kit installations take between 2-3 days. However, it can take longer if you have a large system installation.

There are two teams involved in a solar power kit installation, the AC Team and DC Team.

One or both of these teams will arrive at the installation site on the day of your booking. If only one of the teams arrives on the first day, the second team will come on the next.

AC Team
The AC Team is responsible for installing your solar inverter and battery bank. They are also responsible for wiring your inverter to your mains and battery and connecting your solar panel array to the inverter.

DC Team
The DC Team is responsible for installing your solar panel mounting kit and the solar panels and wiring your array using DC cabling in preparation for connecting to the inverter via MC4 connectors.

System Setup

Solar Power Kit Installations: System Setup

Your system setup will be done by the AC Team. This means they will correctly set your system to function as efficiently as possible according to your needs.

You must be there so that they can explain how your system works and the two system monitoring facilities available to you.

Monitoring your system will help you better understand and monitor your consumption and solar power production. Thereby allowing you to have your solar solution working as efficiently as possible to lower your grid consumption drastically.

The AC Team will also go through some troubleshooting tips with you if your system trips or your batteries are completely depleted. In case of more extended periods of load shedding, you can set your batteries to charge via the grid so that you always have power during planned grid outages.


SolarAssistant is not a downloadable app. However, using your Safari browser, you can save a shortcut to your SolarAssistant account on your phone’s home screen.

  • Real-time data
  • Only basic historical data
  • Remotely reserve battery & grid charging
  • R2899.00 once off cost for device
  • No monthly subscription cost
Solar Man

Solar Man is a downloadable application that you can download to your phone. It is completely free to download and is available for Android and iOS users.

  • Detailed Historic Data
  • No real-time data
  • Requires a wifi dongle (usually included with inverter)
  • Remote battery reserve setting is difficult
  • No monthly subscription cost
Chapter 3

Safe Solar Power Kit Installations

In this section, we’ll discuss how to ensure the safety of Solar Power Kit installations.

Solar Power Kit installations require experienced professionals who are registered and certified to complete safe, legal installations.

A safe solar installation is a necessity, not an optional extra.

There is a very real risk of damage to your home and solar equipment and even the deaths of you and your family due to a dangerous solar installation.

Here is what can happen when a solar installation goes wrong:

Battery Fire
Solar Panel Fire
Roof Collapse
Number 1

Solar Installer Background Check

By law, the person doing a solar installation must be a qualified Installation Electrician or Master Installation Electrician who is registered with the Department of Employment and Labour and the Electrical Conformance Board of South Africa.

Only these two types of installers can issue a certificate of compliance, which must be issued upon the installed solar power system’s completion, inspection and testing.

You can check to ensure that your chosen installer is registered here: Electrical Conformance Board of SA

Number 2

Solar System Extras

To ensure a safe installation, there are a number of products that absolutely must be installed to protect your equipment, home and your family.

If they are not installed, your installation is incorrectly installed and will cause major issues.

The items below should be installed in distribution boxes like this one. You should have a DC & AC box with clearly labelled switches.


Isolator Switches

Isolator Switch Icon
First and foremost, isolator switches allow anyone working on your solar system to be able to disconnect the various power sources so that they can isolate and work on a particular piece of equipment without getting hurt.


Breakers Icon
Circuit breakers protect your electrical circuit from damage due to current overload or short circuits. If either of these events occurs, the breaker’s switch will safely ‘break’ the circuit.


Fuse Icon
Fuses act like breakers, but they blow when there are excess current and short circuits, and in doing so, they prevent damage to your solar equipment. These fuses will need to be replaced if they are blown.

Surge Protectors

Surge Icon
Similar to the fuses, the surge protectors prevent damage to electrical equipment caused by surges from the AC or DC power supply. Your system will trip, saving your equipment from any damage.

Number 3

AC & DC Cabling

Cabling is also incredibly important in avoiding dangerous situations. The correct DC, AC and battery cabling needs to be compatible with the relevant equipment. Earthing your solar power kit is a must to prevent blowing your inverter during lightning strikes and power surges. There should be no exposed cabling, so your installer should use cable trunking.

Conceiled DC Cabling

Conceiled DC Cabling
Neatly concealing the DC cables connected to your solar panel array in conduit is a must to protect them from the elements and other things that could damage them, like birds or rodents.

Cable Trunking for Internal Cabling

Correct Internal Cable Installation
All cabling that is installed inside your home or garage needs to be concealed with cable trunking. Trunking protects the cabling from being damaged by foot traffic and, in turn, will protect anyone walking near your system from an electric shock.

Exposed DC Cabing

Hazardous Exposed DC Cabling
Exposed wiring like this is a safety hazard that can cause major damage to your home and could even cause death. DC current is a constant current running in one direction, which can cause catastrophic fires.

Exposed Internal Cabling

Incorrect Internal Cable Installation
Exposed internal wiring can cause severe damage to your system and can cause injury to anyone who may accidentally tug on or bump into a system installed like this. It is also not aesthetically pleasing.

Chapter 4

Solar Power Kit Installations: Peripheral Overview

Knowing what peripherals your kit needs can help ensure that your solar equipment is installed correctly and safely. Below are the 3 most popular inverter sizes and their peripheral requirements.

5kW Solar Power Kit Peripherals
8kW Solar Power Kit Peripherals
12kW Solar Power Kit Peripherals
Chapter 5

Solar Power Kit Installations: System Registration

If you are not buying electricity from Eskom directly, you’ll need to check with your municipality if you are required to register your solar power system with them.

There will likely be an approved list of inverters you can install if you are a municipality electrical client. City of Cape Town customers are required to install one of the inverters found on Approved inverter and equipment ito NRS 097-2-1 document.

System registration can be a long, arduous process, but you are liable for a substantial fine if you do not comply.

System Registration Requirements

You must receive approval from your municipality before your solar panel installation and connection to your solar system. You will however be able to install an inverter and solar battery bank as a load shedding solution while you wait for the r approval.

Some Solar Companies offer a registration service at a fee. However, if you decide to do it yourself, you will need to complete and submit the following:

Document 1

You will need to complete and submit an Application for the Connection of Embedded Generation document. Your installer will need to complete a portion of this document and should he not have a wireman’s license, you will need an ECSA Registered Professional to sign the form too.

Document 2

You will also need to complete and submit an Application for a New or Modified Electricity Supply Service document. The CoCT will then send you a quote for the supply and installation of a meter.

Chapter 6


Solar Energy is the greener (and more reliable) option for powering your home. However, safety is of paramount importance.

System design is the first step in reaching your energy independence goals, although choose a company that will listen to your needs and respect your budget.

Solar Systems are highly versatile, so scaling up later is easy. Grid tied systems allow you to still charge the battery from the grid to have an extra available power source.

When buying battery storage, Lithium-ion is best due to its longer lifespans, the greater number of cycles and safety.

Request a site assessment so that you and your Solar team are on the same page and can pre-empt unforeseen issues which may delay your installation.