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How to get a good quote for solar in South Africa

Last Updated: January 18, 2024By

Are you looking for a quotation to install solar at your home or business? There are so many options out there at the moment.

It can be a confusing and risky business – how do you know the company you’re asking to install a solar system will do a good job?

Solar is not cheap and probably one of the most expensive things you will do to upgrade your property. It makes sense, therefore, to have a good strategy for getting a solar quote.

Let’s explore how you can get quotes for solar from trusted companies and minimise risk.

Too many options to choose from

If you do a search for “solar installer” or “best solar installer” or “solar installer near me” in Google, you will get a very large number of search results back.

How do you know which one to choose?

You might click on the first result (which is usually and ad) and this doesn’t mean that the company ranking top in Google is the best for you. It simply means that the company is good at marketing and can afford to pay to have the top position in Google Ads.

You might ignore the ads and find the top result in organic search. Again this result doesn’t mean the company is great at installing solar panels – it just means they are good at search engine optimisation and getting their website to rank.

You might even go onto Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or TikTok and do a search for a solar installer. The results you see there are not necessarily the best.

So what strategy should you use?

Start with word-of-mouth

The fact is that most solar installers get most of their business through word-of-mouth. This is a great place to start. Perhaps a friend or family member recently got solar done – you should ask them if they recommend the company who did it.

Word-of-mouth is the strongest form of marketing because you are getting a recommendation from someone who has your best interests at heart.

Anything else and somebody is trying to sell you something.

If you don’t have the option to find an installer through word-of-mouth, you should follow a process of elimination and get multiple quotations.

A solid process for vetting a solar installer

Begin with a search in Google or on a social media platform and get a short list of solar installers. You can now use a vetting process to evaluate these.

Factors you should consider:

  • What do their Google reviews look like? Remember a 5 star rating doesn’t mean much if there are very few reviews. You need to find an installer with hundreds of positive reviews and a high average rating based on many reviews
  • Do they have active digital platforms? A reputable company will invest time and energy into social media platforms and a good looking, easy to navigate website. This shows that they care about their clients and their online experience
  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • Do they include a certificate of compliance and are they a registered solar installer with SAPVIA or similar? What are their credentials?
  • How quickly do they respond to your request for a quote? If you have to wait days for a response, walk away and find someone else
  • Are they friendly and treat you with respect?
  • Do they offer to book an appointment for a site assessment at your home or business at a time and day convenient for you?
  • Do they ask you how much electricity you use per month on average and what your average monthly electricity bill is?
  • Hello Peter and similar sites are good to check their reputation
  • Do they have flexible payment terms?
  • Do they offer after-installation maintenance?
  • Do they offer warranty on the equipment or other guarantees of quality?
  • Are they willing to give you testimonials and contact details of their other clients you can contact to confirm quality of service?

Finally, use your own built-in bullshit detector. Do they FEEL reputable? Your gut instinct is super important for evaluating a potential solar installer.

Solar installations are more than just about price

The price they quote for the installation and the price of solar panels they use is a consideration but remember that cheaper is not always better.

Not sure how much a solar installation should cost? Check this out for some guidelines.

Will there be maintenance and is there a service and produce warranty?

Knowledge is (renewable) power

You also need to do your own homework. Are the components in the quote good quality? Does the solar quotation show which actual components will be installed and what brands will be used?

If you are prepared, do your own homework and improve your own knowledge about solar, you will be better equipped to get a good solar installation quote from a reputable company.

How to avoid the fly by night solar installer scammers

There are a number of companies advertising on YouTube, Google and other platforms currently.

Some of them are promising extremely cheap solar installations.

The videos are slick and convincing but if you follow the advice above you can avoid getting ripped off.

Right now, the average 3 bedroom house can go about 70% off-grid with solar energy for about R300,000. This is a fact based on actual quotes I have personally received and one that I have accepted for my own house.

The solar scammers will use the cheapest equipment and offer no warranty. You will pay little initially but in the long run you will have to have the entire installation redone properly and you will end up paying much more.

Please keep an eye out for unrealistic quotes and educate yourself about the best solar panels, inverters, batteries and other components.

Your solar installation is your capital and in the long run you want to make sure it gives you the best return on investment.

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About the Author: Tony Lopes

Tony is the founder and editor of CleanVolts.co.za. He has completed solar certifications and courses through Green Solar Academy. Tony's goal is to see solar panels on every roof-top in South Africa and the adoption of EVs and renewable technology across the African continent.

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