Think Safe and Legal PV systems!
On 16th March, Safety and the Legality of photovoltaic installations headlined the Cape Town Energy Efficiency Forum.
South Africa's emerging solar industry has resulted in some rooftop PV systems being poorly installed while others are being connected to the electricity grid in an illegal and unsafe manner.
This is a big safety concern as the households will be compromised by risk of electrical fires and shock. Furthermore the power quality of the electrical grid will be compromised by illegal connections that use the wrong equipment.
Executive Mayor from the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille also joined the discussion. As a first step towards legal regulations and the improvement of safety, the City of Cape Town presented guidelines on what to consider when installing a solar PV system. These guidelines can be found here.
While there are compulsory wiring standards for general electrical installations, there is no dedicated national standard for PV installations yet. Therefore we herewith give you some pointers when having your first Photovoltaic system installed:
- Most important would be to use a well known and verified PV service provider. It is good to check if the business has had substantial prior experience and can provide you with contactable references.
- Secondly we would recommend that you check if the service provider employs or subcontracts qualified staff to design and install systems. While doing that it would also be good to find out if the company responsible for your installation is registered with the South African Photovoltaic Association (SAPVIA) and with the Electrical Contractors Board (ECB) and/or is a maxx-solar energy aumni.
- Post-installation we also recommend you request an original electrical certificate of compliance (CoC). This document checks that the electrician who performed the installation has complied with the rules and regulations that are in place to assure a safe installation.
- Having a PV system installed is usually a once in a lifetime investment and should be done properly from the beginning.
If you are not sure whether a company is reliable or if you are looking for one, please contact us. We work together with many PV installation companies in all of Southern Africa and will be able to recommend you one that complies with our own high standards of quality.