Solar installer

Solar installer in Johannesburg: how to find and choose a great one

Last Updated: January 18, 2024By

Looking for a solar installer in Johannesburg? Let’s look at how to find and choose a great installer you can trust.

I live in Joburg too and in 2022 I went through what you are going through now. We were DONE. Couldn’t take another day of power cuts. Gatvol.

So I went looking for a solar installer.

How do you even start to find an installer you can trust?

A solar installation is certainly not cheap. It’s one of the largest investments you will make in your property. So the risks are high if you get it wrong.

Now, I knew NOTHING going in and I ended up getting very lucky and finding the perfect solar installer in Johannesburg after a few false starts.

This is what we experienced one week after the solar installation was done.

Don’t do this

What about the false starts, you ask?

It started with good ol’ word of mouth. You know, you ask around. Does anyone know a good solar installer?

A guy comes over. Gives a quote. No detail, just a big fat number with lots of zeroes. Doesn’t follow up with you.

Then another guy, a friend of a friend who is an electrician (or was, or was interested in it, I dunno). He comes around and says no problem, I will get you a quote next week. Never does.

You never hear from him again.

So we went onto Google. Searched for things like “solar installer in johannesburg” (like maybe what you were doing earlier). Clicked on a few ads. Completed a number of request for a quote forms. Checked out some big companies. Didn’t hear back from anyone.

Is everyone just too damn busy at the moment to care about potential new clients?

Luckily, we ended up looking closer to home and heard that one of our family friends (who is a qualified electrician, plumber and solar installer) was branching out into the solar installation business.

We gave him a call and we got lucky. He was the best installer we could have asked for. His name is Andy.

Why do we like Andy our solar installer so much?

Andy is fantastic. He is based in Johannesburg (and has a footprint in Botswana, Cape Town, Durban and beyond) and he has the following characteristics YOU should look for in a solar installer:

  • Andy is absolutely pedantic about his work. He and his team take IMMENSE pride in the quality of their workmanship and they will honestly not stop improving things until they are happy
  • His team is super friendly. They actually care. They get it. They feel your pain and want to make things better. This is something you don’t get with most people, sadly, but they go the extra mile
  • Andy came to our house to discuss our needs and evaluated our power requirements
  • We discussed where in the house to do the installation and Andy gave his expert advice
  • Andy gave a detailed quote and explained it to me in person
  • Andy is a qualified electrician, plumber and solar installer
  • Andy is registered with the relevant electrical and solar certifying and regulatory bodies
  • Andy and his team have years of experience in multiple areas (so their general service, maintenance and installation skills are excellent)
  • Andy is part of a a family-owned business which has been in operation for decades
  • Andy has the authority to issue an Electrical Certificate of Compliance

So what do we experience with Andy as our solar installer?

After the installation was done in October 2022 he has been super at checking up on us. He logs into our Victron Energy online platform to check on the status of our solar installation.

He fine tunes and tweaks to keep our system at peak performance. He regularly messages me to find out how we are enjoying our installation.

You just don’t get that level of after-sales service from the big companies or the fly-by-night okes.

Which solar installers should you avoid?

Let’s get to the most important point I want to make: don’t choose someone from the bakkie brigade. You know, the guys who are very eager but just not at all qualified to do the job. They are trying to cash on in on this booming solar thing right now and don’t have a clue. They are VERY good at selling but very bad at doing the actual work.

Avoid anyone who cannot issue a Certificate of Compliance. This is key. Your insurance company and bank will require this and YOU should require this too to make sure the job is done right and done safely.

Don’t choose someone who is cheap. If it SOUNDS too good to be true you can be SURE it is.

Don’t just choose someone because their ad appears on Facebook or Google. Do your homework. Ask for referrals. Check out the reviews. Make sure there is a solid history of happy clients there and not a fly by night operation.

What could possibly go wrong?

Quite a bit, to be honest. Here’s a list of things that can go wrong to fuel your nightmares:

  • Fire
  • Fire and someone gets electrocuted trying to put it out
  • The system stops working
  • The system keeps tripping
  • The system damages your appliances
  • Your insurance refuses to pay for damages because the installer was not certified
  • You’ve borrowed money from the bank and your system breaks and now you still have to pay for it

My plea to you is to do your homework and make sure you don’t go cheap. You will certainly regret it.

Where can I find out more?

There are a number of local solar groups on Facebook where you can get some great insights and learn more.

Solar PV South Africa

Solar Professionals South Africa

Also check out the SAPVIA site for lots of great info.

Read the articles on this website. There’s a lot of good info for beginners.

Final thoughts before you decide

Have you done your homework? This website is CRAMMED full of info to help guide you. Please think carefully before you get someone in to do your solar installation.

Watch YouTube videos. Educate yourself.

Take some online courses about solar. Check out Green Solar Academy (I am currently signed up for their online courses). Learn about this stuff so you can make an informed choice.

I know it is hard. Load shedding sucks. It’s getting worse and you are tired of the bullcrap.

Believe me, life WILL get better once you get solar but you MUST make sure it gets done properly.

Please.

It’s your investment, your money, your time and energy and your peace of mind that matters most.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – what matters to you when it comes to choosing a solar installer?

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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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