How are Solar PV Panels Installed?
Most residential and commercial solar PV panels are installed on roofs as this offers good exposure to sunlight and makes use of redundant space to generate electricity. The panels can either be installed on sloping roofs or on flat roofs on stands. Systems can also be ground mounted, although this is unusual and is mostly done for utility scale PV projects.
PV systems must only be installed by expert companies.
Output of Solar PV
PV installations are measured in kWp. A 1kWp system requires around 10m² of PV panels. In Durban, a 1kWp system produces around 1 650kWh electricity per year.
The cost of a grid connected system without batteries is approximately R20 000/kWp for a small system of 1-5kWp. Larger systems have lower costs per kWp.
What is meant by kWp?
kWp stands for kilowatt peak and is the measurement for the size of solar PV systems. It describes the maximum output of the PV system.
Technical Standards and Permits
• PV installations need to adhere to the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act No. 103 of 1977 as amended. Therefore, the PV installer must submit a development application to the municipality. The application form can be found here.
• PV installations need to adhere to the Durban Transitional Metropolitan Council Electricity Supply By-Laws No. 45 of 1998 as amended. Should a PV installer wish to connect to the Municipal grid, a grid application form will need to be submitted to the Electricity Department (this form can be found on www.durban.gov.za). The installation must be signed off by an authorised engineer. Failure to submit this form when connecting to the grid may have severe consequences and pose severe safety risks to personnel working on the grid. The municipality will install a bi-directional meter in accordance with NRS 057 at cost to the applicant.
• The most important standards that grid connected PV systems must adhere to are the NRS048 and NRS 097; off-grid installations must adhere to NRS 052. Systems larger than 100kWp need a license to generate electricity from the National Electricity Regulator South Africa (NERSA).